The Southern Huskies had far from a dream debut in the New Zealand National Basketball League this weekend.
The Huskies, the first Australian team to play in the NBL, clocked a mind-boggling 135 hours of travel, including a missed flight, and having to stay more than 300km away from where one of their games was being held - due to not booking accommodation in advance.
Speaking to WIN News Tasmania after their final game of the weekend on Sunday night, Huskies head coach Anthony Stewart described the trip as the toughest he's ever endured.
"It was a tough road schedule for everyone involved ... it certainly tested us," he said. "I've been around a while now and it's definitely been the toughest road trip I've ever done.
"I've got some banged up bodies and boys ... just looking forward to getting back home now."
It all started on Wednesday morning when the Huskies finally embarked on Auckland's shores after part of their team missed their connecting flight between Hobart and Melbourne.
Later arriving in Palmerston North just hours before tip-off against the Manawatu Jets, the Australian side claimed a one-point victory over last year's cellar-dwellers – to which Stewart described as a huge achievement under the circumstances.
The team, travelling with just nine players on their roster, then arrived in Wellington on Friday morning to squeeze in some court-time ahead of their second NBL clash against the Wellington Saints.
But the exhausted side were handed a hefty 87-60 defeat at the hands of 10-time champions in the capital.
Things didn't get any easier as the Huskies were left with no choice but to pile into their minibuses and hit the road for their final game in Napier against the Bay Hawks yesterday.
And with no suitable accommodation available across Hawkes Bay thanks to the Easter long weekend, the newcomers were forced to first stay in Palmerston North the night before, then endure another four-hour road trip back to their Wellington lodgings after suffering a 10-point defeat in their final game.
Hawke's Bay basketball franchise board chairman Keith Price said the Huskies were advised to book accommodation smartly in Napier so that they wouldn't be left stranded, noting that when a Huskies representative had visited the city almost two months ago their Bay counterparts had informed them of the need to act in haste so as not to be left out in the cold during the holiday rush.
"You know, Napier over Easter - you can't leave it until the last minute so we're pretty happy we'd helped them with accommodation almost a couple of months ago," Price told the Hawke's Bay Today.
The Huskies close their horror travel schedule with two flights back to Hobart today, and, lucky them, come Saturday they're straight back into action, with a game against the lowly Supercity Rangers.