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Fully prepared Aussies primed for success

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Ian McCullough

No stone left unturned - that is mantra behind Australia's push for Four Nations rugby league glory.

Stung by their relegation to No.2 in the world standings to New Zealand, Mal Meninga's team arrived in the UK two weeks ago as arguably the best-prepared sports team to leave Australian shores.

Planning for the tour has been 12 months in the making and the brainchild of Gareth Holmes, elite programs manager for the NRL.

"The job of myself and the staff is to ensure that all the players have to worry about is playing and all the coaches have to worry about is coaching," Holmes told AAP.

"NRL clubs do things so well nowadays and the two Origin teams have really made the player experience a special one, but Mal wanted to go one step further on his first Kangaroos tour as coach."

The logisitical demands of bringing a professional sports team to the other side of the world for almost six weeks are huge.

Several thousand metres of strapping, massage tables, training ladders, footballs, training cones, tackling bags and protein shakes were among the items shipped to the UK before the players arrived.

"We flew in seven pallets worth of equipment," Holmes said.

"We like to be self-sufficient. The tournament organisers do a good job, but we're aware we are not the home team so we take everything with us."

Every detail was taken into account to prepare the team for their arrival last month in England.

To try to conquer jet lag, the squad were told to stay up all night before catching a 6.30am flight from Perth to Manchester to ensure they slept on the first leg to Dubai.

On board, they were issued with a device to attach to their legs that increased circulation.

On arrival at every hotel, the players are pre-checked in and keys at the ready so they can retire straight to their rooms.

Chefs at each hotel have been issued with a specially created daily menu, put together by elite performance manager Troy Thomson, to ensure the diets are strictly monitored.

A smart phone app has also been created so staff can send training schedules and meeting times to the players.

"The app also gives the players a daily wellness chart to fill in," Holmes said.

"This goes to the team doctor and the physio and, if there is an issue, they'll receive an alert and can be straight onto it."

With the international terrorism threat level in the UK rated as severe by British security services, the Kangaroos have employed a security officer for the first time.

"With everything that is happening in the world, it would be wrong to not to address it," Holmes said.

"When we go out for dinner, Adrian, our security guy, will go to the restaurant to check its suitability and ensure they've enough food and space to feed 24 and sit hungry professional footballers.

"We'll get the players to pre-order their starters before we arrive so, when we arrive, they are not hanging around waiting.

"Everything we do off the field is about ensuring the team's ready to win on it."

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