Newcastle forward Tariq Sims reckons he’s got the secret to surviving the “cold and miserable” trip to Canberra: a tube of Deep Heat.
Temperatures are expected to drop below five degrees at GIO Stadium on Friday night in what’s a must-win NRL match for both sides if they want to contend the finals.
The 11th-placed Raiders have been horrible at home this season, winning just once in seven games.
The second-last Knights, meanwhile, have claimed three of their past four meetings in the nation’s capital.
But Sims still rates the ground a fortress.
“It’s cold, it’s miserable – and they like that,” he said on Thursday.
“They play and train in it every day.
“Personally I don’t mind the cold but it might affect others.”
Sims said he learnt to deal with the chill from cross-code pioneer Peter Ryan, who played in Canberra with Super Rugby’s Brumbies after a decade in the NRL with Brisbane.
“He taught me a really good trick: to put Deep Heat on the bottom of your feet and in between your toes,” Sims said.
“I’ll be passing it on, absolutely. Finger-tips and toes.”
The Knights are hoping to turn up the heat on the Raiders, who won their last clash 44-22 only a month ago at Hunter Stadium.
Sims said they were pretty embarrassed by that “ambush”.
“So we’re going to be doing our best to go down there and try to spring a little trap on them with a couple of new plays,” he added.
They welcome back playmaker Jarrod Mullen after 10 weeks on the sideline with a foot injury, while prop Kade Snowden returns from suspension and Jeremy Smith from injury.
Dane Gagai has also been named to back up from Wednesday’s State of Origin decider.
They will, however, be without NSW back-rower Beau Scott who copped a one-week ban for his tip tackle on Queensland skipper Cameron Smith in Origin III.
While it was good to have some troops back, Sims is still expecting an almighty challenge against the likes of Maroon enforcer Josh Papalii and five-eighth Blake Austin.
“They’re a couple of strike players we did some video on and we’re going to make sure we’re on top of them,” he said.
“I’m up for a physical game because they’re big boys down there.”