Trent Robinson has backed calls for a permanent move to same-day return chartered flights for NRL games, after feeling its benefits himself in the Super League.
Robinson spent two years coaching Catalans in the English Super League, where a similar approach is adopted by the French team for games in England.
His Sydney Roosters are one of a number of sides to have won while flying interstate this season on game day, with the record of travelling teams slightly above 50 per cent.
Under NRL rules during the pandemic, teams board chartered flights for matches on the morning of a game and head straight to the stadium, before heading home after fulltime.
“Without a doubt, as soon as you do one you start talking about those things as a club,” Robinson said.
“I think everyone must have done it. We did the same, we really enjoyed the ease of that.
“I think if you can go in and out on game day, but have a hotel for the three or four hours before you arrive that would be ideal (post pandemic).
“You save a night’s accommodation, you have to fly anyway.”
In his time at Catalans, the club were all but forced to use private flights as commercial airlines do not fly from England to Perpignan airport during the winter.
The move made for a two-hour trip to the north of England from the south of France, rather than using buses, commercial flights and hotels.
Parramatta adopted a somewhat similar approach at the end of last year of flying interstate on game days – only in their instance, they used commercial flights and flew home the next day.
Eels coach Brad Arthur has also indicated he prefers the fly-in, fly-out method, and would like to stick with it on chartered flights if costs are not an issue.
The chartered jets are big enough in size that most of the 50 people in a club’s bubble can have a row to themselves.
And Robinson believes one financial solution could be offering seats to sponsors once the pandemic is over.
“It’s all about the cost difference and then how do you leverage the extra seats on those planes,” Robinson suggested.
“There are a lot of savings there, but the chartering of flights is slightly higher.
“That’s where the negotiating of an agreement between the NRL and clubs and airlines can help.”
Clubs are also learning fast about the challenges of travel and player temperatures when flying to the hotter Queensland climate.
The Roosters had three plays fail their initial check in Brisbane last week before passing the 37.2 degree temperature limit on the second attempt.
Six Cronulla players also failed the first check in North Queensland last week before later passing, while Brisbane had a similar issue with Brodie Croft a fortnight ago.
Clubs are now looking at players not wearing headphones or beanies to grounds.
“On a cold day you could be down a degree or up, depending on the environment,” Robinson said.
“You don’t want to manipulate if someone is sick or not. But there are things that raise or reduce the temperature. Just with the air temperature.”