By midway through the football season, few teams enter games at full-strength or on the back of an ideal preparation. Just a three-day break for a lucrative knockout match-up on the other side of the country exacerbates the degree of difficulty that little bit further. How about then being stuck at the airport for nearly a day after enduring four aborted take-offs?
That fate befell luckless Williamstown on Monday and Tuesday, when the Seagulls' Virgin Australia plane was grounded ahead of their Tuesday night Foxtel Cup semi-final at Patersons Stadium.
Williamstown general manager Brendan Curry detailed what became a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale for the newly stand-alone club.
"Yeah well, we got here around 3.30, 4 o'clock [on Monday afternoon], we were due to fly out at 5.30. The first delay was about three hours and we finally got on the plane and we sat in the plane for another half an hour and didn't take off and they said you'd better get off," he said on SEN.
"Then we had a rescheduled flight which finally took off around 10.30 [Monday] night and we flew for about half an hour and then all of a sudden we got the announcement that the flight was turning around and coming back."
Remarkably the situation then deteriorated. The Seagulls' luggage was lost. Then the bus to their last-minute accommodation didn't show. Neither did the food they were told would be at the motel, which they eventually reached via hastily arranged taxis.
"Everyone got to bed around 1, 1.30," Curry said.
Finally set to embark for a 9am flight on matchday, the Seagulls were informed their flight had again been delayed, firstly until 10am, then 11.30am, then noon.
All Curry could do by that point was to remain philosophical despite the ridiculously turbulent day.
"It is what it is. Everyone was pretty excited to get over there and take on East Perth - the top side in the WAFL. Everyone has challenges in their football lives and this is another one. We're really looking forward to it, if we can get there."
A club spokesperson indicated the team finally departed at around midday on Tuesday.
The match was scheduled to begin at 8.35pm Melbourne time, with the sides playing off for a spot in the final, and a July 22 date with West Perth, and the chance to pocket $100,000 in prize money. Williamstown won the competition in 2011 when still aligned with the Western Bulldogs.
Despite resting a few players in Saturday's thumping victory over the Casey Scorpions, 15 of the Seagulls are backing up from the league clash.
The story Seagulls grounded as Foxtel Cup becomes a trip from hell first appeared on WA Today.