Paul Wellens details St Helens’ horror 53 hour journey home from Australia

Today World Champions St Helens return to Super League to begin the defence of their domestic crown away at Castleford Tigers.

Eight days after their win in Australia, it has been a tough week for the Champions with some of the squad enduring a horror 53 hour journey back to St Helens after the win.

Coach Paul Wellens revealed all this week.

He said: “There was a group of us that had a globe-trotting experience so to speak on our way home, it wasn’t ideal.

“When we left the Pullman hotel in Sydney at 6am on Sunday morning and didn’t walk through our doors until 1am Tuesday morning UK time. It was quite an arduous journey consisting of three countries, four flights and a bus journey.

“It took us 53 hours in the end, which wasn’t ideal but we got on with it and it was certainly made all the more easier off the back of a great result as well.”

“Preparation hasn’t been ideal but it was never going to be. It’s just about us getting the body clocks in order, refreshing both physically and mentally to go to Castleford and put in a great effort.”

“We went to Bangkok and had a nine hour stayover, then Stockholm as a seven hour stopover. That was meant to go to Manchester but we ended up in London at Heathrow. We had the made dash through Heathrow to try and get the plane to Manchester but the gate closed on us. So then we were sent a coach to pick us up and drive us back to St Helens. It was like Planes, Trains and Automobiles, it was an experience.

“It was 12 players and two coaching staff, myself included. It was one of those things, the rest of the group got home in pretty good fashion, just a bit of a challenge for 12 of those guys.”

After that struggle back, Wellens put on an optional training session that the entire squad attended: “We actually put in an optional session on Wednesday in which the players could come to if they wanted and everyone turned up. It was a great sign of where the players are at and what they want to achieve moving forward.

“I’ve been part of teams in the past where optional sessions might get a handful of people show up, but the rest of the squad showed up which fills me with a huge amount of confidence moving forward.”

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