Stifling conditions tipped for Raiders-Sharks NRL clash
Sweltering conditions could force the NRL's heat policy to be enacted when Canberra host Cronulla in an important round-three clash.
Temperatures are forecast to at 36C an hour before the 6.15pm (AEDT) kick-off on Sunday and still at 27C when the match finishes.
It's likely drinks breaks and extra access to the field for trainers will be available.
It's not exactly the homecoming the Raiders wanted after extreme weather followed them through their season-opening tour of Queensland.
Extreme heat greeted them in Townsville in their 19-18 loss to North Queensland, before heavy rain battered them throughout a 20-14 loss to the Dolphins in Redcliffe a week later.
While the Raiders might have preferred their typical icy Canberra conditions for their first game at GIO Stadium, coach Ricky Stuart said they had taken plenty from their two defeats.
"That was a good 10 days away, we worked on a lot of stuff," he said.
"I genuinely thought the effort has been tremendous, and we probably are lucky to not win one of those two games, if not two.
"But we haven't, so we're just gonna keep working hard ... if we keep working hard like we have been I'm sure it's not too far away."
Cronulla sit at 1-1 and showed off their dangerous attack in a 30-26 win over Parramatta last time out, their balanced back five looking lively with fullback Will Kennedy nabbing a hat-trick.
But they will need to buck recent history to beat the Raiders, having lost their past eight games against the Sharks
Both teams will be without serious weaponry for the clash, but none will be missed more than Cronulla halfback Nicho Hynes who remains sidelined with a calf complaint.
Hynes said this week he would likely be fit for next weekend's game against St George Illawarra, although the Sharks could be tempted to give him longer to rest given the impressive form of deputy half Braydon Trindall.
Canberra has a calf injury concern of their own in veteran prop Josh Papali'i, who is no guarantee to even line up next round against Newcastle.
Young guns Xavier Savage (jaw) and Ata Mariota (hand) will also miss Sunday's game.
Mariota's injury has made room for exciting youngster Trey Mooney on the bench, the 20-year-old having starred for NSW in last year's under-19s State of Origin.
"He's had all the correct pathways, all through junior football from school to junior reps, made all the rep teams and he's an exciting young talent," Stuart said.
"The younger boys are going to have their opportunity now to show us that they're genuine NRL players."