29th July 2020, 08:55 | nrl

NRL Preview | Round 12

NRL Preview | Round 12

By NRL.com's Brad Walter

Canberra’s English quartet of Ryan Sutton, George Williams, Elliott Whitehead and John Bateman have been training in full compression wear to acclimatise for Saturday’s match in North Queensland.

Under the COVID-19 restrictions for NRL matches, the Raiders will leave the cold and wet of Canberra, where temperatures this week have been as low as three degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit), and arrive in the tropical heat of Townsville just hours before kick-off.

Prop Ryan Sutton said Canberra’s head of physical performance Nigel Ashley-Jones, who has worked with Warrington, Wigan and St Helens as well as Sale Sharks, Saracens, Wigan Athletic and Derby County, had left no stone unturned with the team’s preparations. 

“It will be a different climate to down here at the minute, it has been really windy and cold so it will be good to go up there,” former Wigan prop Ryan Sutton said ahead of the Cowboys clash.

“They are a good side and especially playing at home, they are going to be in their own backyard and it is going to be a really tough game so we are going to have to get the best preparation we can.

“Nigel has got us training in Skins to try and get us acclimatised, and we are taking every precaution that we can before going up there.”

The Raiders are in equal fourth place with the Sydney Roosters after last weekend’s 18-12 defeat of South Sydney and have been bolstered by the mid-season transfer of second-rower Corey Harawira-Naera from the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The New Zealand forward arrived in Canberra earlier this week and was named alongside Sutton on the interchange bench, with Bateman set to start if he passes a fitness test on the injured shoulder that has sidelined him all season.

“He turned up and he had some Wellingtons on – or gum boots as you call them over here,” Sutton said. “He is going to be a great addition to the side, he is an international player and he is going to bring something to the team.”

Round 12 is Indigenous Round in the NRL and it commences with the clash between the club with largest Indigenous representation, Souths, taking on St George Illawarra on Thursday night.

Wests Tigers host the Warriors on Friday, while Cronulla travel to Brisbane to take on a Broncos side looking for just their second win since the season resumed on May 28.

The Roosters continue their campaign for a third consecutive premiership against Justin Holbrook’s Gold Coast Titans on Saturday, boosted by the arrival of Sonny Bill Williams, who is undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine before he can commence training with the team.

The Cowboys-Raiders clash is also on Saturday, along with the battle between competition leaders Penrith and the Manly Sea Eagles. The halfback duel between Penrith and NSW’s Nathan Cleary and Manly and Queensland’s Daly Cherry-Evans is likely to have an impact on the result.

After upsetting the sixth-placed Newcastle Knights last weekend in their second match under the coaching of Greece mentor Steve Georgallis, the Canterbury Bulldogs will be aiming to climb off the bottom of the ladder win another win against traditional rivals Parramatta on Sunday.

The Bulldogs this week confirmed the appointment of former Wigan halfback Trent Barrett as their coach for the next three seasons.

The round concludes on Sunday when the Knights travel to Sunshine Coast Stadium in Queensland to take on the Melbourne Storm, who have leapfrogged the Eels into second place after thrashing Brisbane 46-8 last weekend.