IT’S COLD COMFOR T
THE Cowboys have made a pact not to use Canberra’s bitter cold as an excuse against the Raiders tonight, with the temperature at kick- off set to plummet to the lowest seen in the NRL for at least five years.
The mercury is expected to nosedive to an icy - 1C by 7.30pm, virtually a different planet to the mild winters in Townsville.
Rugby league statistician David Middleton only had records stretching back the last five years, but confirmed to the Townsville Bulletin the previous low at kick- off over that period was 4.4C when Canberra hosted Parramatta in round nine, 2013.
It is understood the Cowboys coaching staff have urged players not to complain about the weather as they prepare to face a desperate Raiders coming off three straight losses.
Former Cowboys coach Neil Henry infamously once banned his players from warming up in jackets before a Canberra game.
“I wouldn’t say it’s on the players’ minds but we have spoken about it as a group and we’re not in any way going to use that as an excuse,” Cowboys assistant coach Todd Payten said.
“We have some weather issues in summer to deal with and train in, so the flip side of that is going down to Canberra.
“We’ve spoken about how it’s a non issue for us.”
Cowboys forward and former Raider Shaun Fensom is no stranger to the capital chill but is confident it won’t be a factor for his new side.
“It’s just something you have to deal with,” he said. “It’s even colder at the ( Canberra) stadium because it’s sunken into the ground ( but) once you get out there you don’t really feel it at all. You’ve got your mind on the job.”
Prop John Asiata was also putting on a brave face.
“It’s not too bad, I don’t mind the cold weather actually,” he said.
“But we have to embrace it, just like we embrace the heat here.”
The Raiders travelled to Townsville a few days early before their round one golden point loss this year acclimatise to the warmer climate.
While that tactic wasn’t successful, Canberra halfback Aidan Sezer is hopeful it can be an advantage for the 11th- placed Raiders.
“It’s been cold for a few weeks now. It’s nothing new for us, but I think it will be new for the Cowboys,” he said.
“Hopefully it can be a little bit of an advantage, but it’s going to be a tough game and we’ve got to work hard.”
Raiders fullback Jack Wighton added: “The cold air’s hard on the lungs down here so hopefully it’s as cold as possible for them.
“The cold is hard but they’re all professional athletes and they’ll turn up and do their job. We’re not taking none of that into ( account) and we know that they’ll be on their game.”