Brad Thorn hasn’t experienced anything like it since his rookie NRL days at Brisbane.
But the Queensland Reds’ coach has laid down the law, saying there’ll be no excuses if his travel-weary troops come up short in Friday night’s Super Rugby AU showdown with the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney.
Such are the crazy times during coronavirus that the Rebels are hosting their “home” game at Brookvale Oval after being locked out of Melbourne.
While the homeless Rebels arrived in Sydney on Wednesday after basing themselves in Canberra for the past fortnight, the Reds will fly in and out on Friday.
“It’s taken me all the way back to Broncos reserve grade. We used to play around 12 o’clock. So you’d be up at the airport at 6am, tired as, and you’d fly down and you’d play and then they’d send me back home,” Thorn said.
“So unless you sat on the bench, you didn’t even watch the first grade play. You’d be back in Brissy by three.
“It’s a similar sort of scenario.”
Thorn, though, said the taxing travel mustn’t be a factor for the Reds.
“We’re going there to get the job done. It’s a mindset thing,” he said.
“You can have a perfect build-up and still not have a great game sometimes. That’s what you learn as a player.
“You can have games where the kids have kept you up all night and you have a man-of-the-match performance. The mindset is massive.
“The good thing is they know it’s coming. It’s not a surprise.”
The Reds will leave Brisbane on Friday morning for the 90-minute charter flight before bussing it to Manly and then hitting the road, then the air, again around midnight.
“You’re probably not going to feel fizzing after all that travel but no one really cares,” Thorn said.
“The team needs you to do your job so you turn up individually to play and then turn up as a team to play. That’s the challenge for the guys.
“Everyone in the competition will be doing it for the first three or four weeks or so, so get on with it, there’ll be no excuses and hopefully we get back on that plane with a positive result.”
Buzzing after their first win over the NSW Waratahs in seven years last Saturday night, the Reds are ready for another tough battle with the Rebels, who lost a round-one thriller against the Brumbies.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for the Rebels,” Thorn said.
“They’re a really good defensive side, (with) good line speed, a smart man at 10 there with (Matt) Toomua and they’ve got a good set piece.
“They’ve really stepped up with their scrummaging and they’ve always had a good lineout.
“They’re a good side.”
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