Cold conditions a concern for Cowboys
The temperature in Leeds is expected to be around five degrees when the World Club Challenge kicks off at Headingley at 7pm on Sunday night but Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott says his team must somehow ignore the frigid conditions.
Hoodies, scarves and beanies have been the order of the day since the 2015 Telstra Premiership champions landed in London and when the team arrived at their training base in Leeds on Tuesday they were greeted by sub-zero temperatures.
It's a far cry from the 30-plus degrees they have sweltered through during another North Queensland pre-season and Scott challenged those who are experiencing the English conditions for the first time to embrace it as much as possible.
Ben Hannant, Rory Kostjasyn and Justin O'Neill are the only members of the Cowboys squad to have played in a World Club Challenge match previously but Scott is confident that come game-day his teammates will be in the right frame of mind.
"The guys are really good in the team at the moment. They're all very sensible and know how to get themselves ready for a game," Scott told Cowboys TV at the official World Club Series launch.
"The biggest factor probably for us is the conditions. You've just got to embrace it I think.
"We're only going to be here for a week and then we go back to the 30-plus degrees so embrace it, try not to let it worry you too much and try not to think about it too much in the game."
Cowboys coach Paul Green conceded the cold conditions will impact on how the game against the Super League champion Rhinos will be played but said they have to adjust as best they can.
"Probably the biggest thing is the conditions. We'll be playing in conditions we're not used to playing in so we probably have to keep that in mind when we take the field," Green said.
"Glad to be up here in Leeds and we can bunker down and start preparing for the game from now on."
World All Stars representative Matthew Wright has now joined the squad in England as has young hooker Josh Chudleigh, who has been called in as a replacement for Ray Thompson who suffered a broken ankle in the final training session for the Indigenous All Stars team.
It's been a tough start to the season for Leeds who are now without veteran figures Jamie Peacock and Kevin Sinfield and went down narrowly to Warrington in Round 1 before being thumped 56-12 by Widnes last weekend.
Five-eighth Danny McGuire missed the loss to Widnes and Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston is expecting a far different outfit to take the field in pursuit of the title of world champions, a crown Leeds last claimed with a win over Manly in 2012.
"I wouldn't be reading too much into that," Thurston said of the Rhinos' slow start to the season.
"They're a quality outfit and they'll certainly bounce back and it will be a tough night at the office for us.
"It's obviously very cold but the boys are looking forward to the week ahead.
"It's a tough challenge against Leeds who have been at the top of the competition for a number of years so the boys are looking forward to the challenge.
"It's all about footy now this week, preparing as best we can for Sunday."