I CAN'T IMAGINE playing for a Perth based club. Nothing at all against Fremantle or West Coast, I actually admire both organisations immensely, but the travel would get to me.
I read with interest this week that the Dockers are making a $1 million play for Travis Cloke — surely the heavy travel schedule would have to come into calculations if he's considering the offer.
Basically, he'd have to accept the fact that there's a four hour plane ride every second week from Perth to the other states for away games.
While a flight to Melbourne is about that long, you also have to add an extra couple of hours to the trip for getting to the airport, getting through security and waiting at the gate lounges.
Then there's the trip back home after the game when you're fatigued, sore and basically just want to go to bed. Imagine dealing with the inevitable flight delays along the way!
You might be asking why I'm writing about this? Well, we're in Perth today to tackle the Eagles on Sunday, and that meant our entire schedule changed dramatically this week in order for us to get here.
Each club has a different philosophy when it comes to travel and as far as I know, there's no proven formula as to what works best. It just comes down to the needs of the individual clubs and the theories of those who make the decisions.
Some teams will travel a few days out from the game and spend a few nights interstate before playing. This is due to the fact that a lot of guys have a poor sleep on the first night out of their own bed.
I have tried this method before, but I find myself climbing the walls of the hotel room and am tired of staring at the hotel ceiling for almost two days.
So travelling the day before the game and spending only one night in a hotel room suits me better. Others travel early the day before the game and have a training run and familiarisation session on the ground.
This can also be pretty important given there is usually a player or two that haven't played at the venue before.
As far as our week went, we still had our regular Thursday main skills session which went for about two hours and was pretty solid.
There was a lot of rain in Melbourne which meant the track was heavy, but there's rain expected here today too so the conditions for practice were ideal.
Friday was a lighter session for us and really just a chance to work on some technical aspects of our game-plan.
We normally train at Aegis Park (Arden Street) the day before the game and prior to heading to the airport but a combination of flight schedules and flight time precluded us from following that routine this time around.
Our coach Brad Scott prefers us to have done all the preparation at home and be focused only on the game once we're in the air.
That means we don't train at Patersons Stadium (Subiaco Oval) today.
We will catch a 1pm Virgin flight out of Melbourne and land at approximately 3.20pm Perth time so it will end up being about a four and a half hour flight.
From the airport, we load our bags onto the bus and head to the hotel. By this stage I'm usually starting to feel a little weary and can't wait to stretch the legs out and get moving.
Luckily, that's exactly what our fitness and conditioning staff have planned for us after a bite to eat. Across the road from our accommodation there's a massive grassed area, so we will take the footballs out and had a bit of a run and kick. It won't be a training session by any means, just a 'touch' session as they like to call them these days.
With game-time about 24-hours away, plenty of time and care is given to the way we prime our bodies for the contest. There are support staff everywhere and you're really looked after.
For example, we have a dietician that we can speak to about what we should and shouldn't eat, there's the club doctor, some physiotherapists, a sports psychologist, our coaches (obviously) and a fair few masseurs on hand as well.
It's kind of like a day spa for athletes minus the sliced cucumber — although I'm sure the dietician could arrange some.
The post-game protocol is where things have changed the most. Under all the previous coaches I've had, we travel back to Melbourne straight after the game on the midnight express, or more commonly know to us as the 'red eye' (because that's the bloodshot and tired colour of your eyes by the time we land back in Melbourne).
But now, under the guidance of our conditioning and rehabilitation staff, after all Perth games we stay the night, such is the importance put on a good night sleep. A healthy meal to replenish your energy systems, rehydrating with 1.5 to two litres of fluid, stretching, icing sore spots are all seen as vital components of recovering which is all a little too hard to carry out on a plane.
For a number of years, teams travelling back from Perth have struggled to win the next game back in Melbourne. Let's hope our new way of recovering will help prepare us for the Western Bulldogs next weekend because there is no excuse to fail when you take into account most interstate teams travel like this every fortnight.