Hull FC players made their way to the ever popular Kiama Farmers’ Market on Wednesday to meet with the community, soak up the beachside atmosphere and those hot summer rays.
Having arrived in Australia straight out of a chilly UK winter, the warm 26 degrees was vastly different to their East Yorkshire home city of Hull, which experienced a drop in temperature to a mere zero degrees on the same day.
“The day we left it was snowing, so when we landed it was a little bit different,” Hull FC captain Danny Houghton said.
“It’s great to have the sun on our backs, train, get the things we want to get done and not have to rush in after 20 minutes with hypothermia.
“We’ve got a great little spot down near the beach and all the boys are keen to get in the rock pool, we’re not used to that back home in England.”
Houghton said his team was enjoying some of the sights the South Coast had to offer.
“We’ve had a bit of free time, so a few of the boys went into Wollongong and some of us went to the blowhole,” he said.
Houghton said the morale in camp was positive heading into the history-making match against the Wigan Warriors.
“We have a little family click going on at the moment I would have to say, which is really good to be a part of,” he said.
“The boys are really on the up and it was good to get the win against Huddersfield coming over here.”
Playing on the big stage is familiar territory for Hull FC players.
“It’s going to be a massive occasion, we’ve been lucky to play in two Challenge Cup finals the last couple of years, that big stage feeling is pretty special and it’s the same sort of feeling over here,” Houghton said.
“We know how important it is for the people in Australia and also the travelling fans with Hull and Wigan.
“We’re really looking forward to getting out there and showcasing what we’re all about.”
Houghton was optimistic of his team’s chances against Wigan, when they take to Wollongong’s WIN Stadium on Saturday night.
“I’m sure we can get the win,” he said.
“Wigan are a great team and have been for years, so we know what we’re up against, but we’re confident in ourselves.”
Hull supporters, who followed the team over from East Yorkshire, to watch the first Super League game outside of Europe, were also at the farmers’ market.
It is the third visit to Australia for devoted Hull fan Karen Ellis.
“We’re looking forward to it, we can’t wait,” she said.
“It’s very exciting to have the first Super League game outside of Europe, and it is wonderful for our team to be a part of it.”
Mrs Ellis, who has been a supporter for 15 years, said her passion for the football club was “in her blood”.
“We follow them through good times and bad,” she said.
“Last year we won the Challenge Cup and finished third, we were only a few minutes off reaching a grand final. There were two trophies up for grabs and we won one of them.
Mrs Ellis’ husband Keith has been a fan of Hull FC for the best part of four decades.
“1979 was the first game I went to,” he said.