Rugged-up Raiders to avenge Cowboys loss

It’s hard to break a sweat in the Canberra cold, but the Raiders have found a way ahead of their NRL clash with North Queensland at home.

With temperatures struggling to break above single digits in the nation’s capital, the players have been wearing extra layers of clothing at training to prepare for the Townsville heat.

A maximum of 27 is forecast for Saturday, but a few degrees cooler at kick-off.

“So it’ll be shorts and t-shirt weather,” said lock Shaun Fensom on Wednesday.

“Our strength and conditioner has put procedures in place for that.

“We’ve got to wear more clothing here at training just to get the body used to sweating more … make sure we hydrate more, because obviously up there we’re going to lose more fluid.”

Fensom said the temperature difference was noticeable on-field and could impact performance.

“The ball gets sweaty and slippery,” he added.

“It’s a very fast pitch up there, the game’s a bit quicker.

“But in saying that, when you’re out there playing the game, you don’t think about the weather conditions. You just get out there and do your job.”

The Raiders sit ninth on the ladder and remain a chance of reaching this year’s finals.

A win over the Cowboys will set them up well for their run home, with none of their last five opponents in the top eight.

The two sides last met at GIO Stadium just over a month ago, with the Raiders going down by one point in a match that took its toll both mentally and physically.

“We will want to get some revenge,” said Fensom.

“We learnt a lot from that game. We found a few weaknesses in their defence and hopefully we can expose that again this week.”

Raiders hitman Sia Soliola said he was wary of a potentially fired-up Cowboys outfit, following allegations of salary cap irregularities.

Fairfax Media on Tuesday raised a series of claims about property deals involving a number of stars, although there was no suggestion of wrongdoing by individual players.

The NRL said it had already conducted a review into possible salary cap dramas at the club and would only reopen an investigation if further information became available.

“Those sort of things are what we can’t deal with and how they react to it,” Soliola said.

“Sometimes it works in their favour, because it probably will bring them more together.

“But they’re things we can’t control, as well as the weather. We’ve got to mentally and physically prepare for the game.”

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