IT’S COLD COMFOR T

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUXWORTH jonathon. tuxworth@ news. com. au

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.”

COL­LI­SION COM­ING: Cow­boys for­ward John Asi­ata lines up the Raiders’ Josh Hodg­son dur­ing the sea­son opener. Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

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