The Canberra Raiders have drastically modified their training schedule to give their players the best chance of recovering for another NRL Saturday scorcher.
Low blows galore as Canberra topple Penrith
A couple of unsavoury incidents soured Canberra's first win of the year. Both teams also lost key players, with James Segeyaro and Blake Austin facing a stint on the sidelines.
A maximum temperature of 33 degrees is expected for the Raiders' round two clash with the Sydney Roosters at Canberra Stadium on Saturday, which kicks off at 3pm.
Raiders players are still recovering from playing in blistering 36-degree heat in their 30-22 season-opening win against the Penrith Panthers.
The Raiders' 17-man match-day squad lost between 55kg and 60kg after the game.
Centre Joey Leilua and second-rower Josh Papalii were the worst affected losing about 4kg each, while the majority of the team lost between 2.5kg and 3kg.
The Raiders will have their first full-on training session for the week on Thursday after having a light load to build themselves back up.
Hard running and contact work has been replaced by pool sessions and three trips to the AIS, double their normal allotment.
Raiders strength and conditioning coach Nigel Ashley-Jones and coach Ricky Stuart changed the plan after seeing how much the heat took out of the players.
"We had a plan and on Sunday, Ricky and I ripped it up," Ashley-Jones said.
"We normally have a pretty strict recovery protocol, but we've just added another day to it.
"We've just lightened their loads more than we thought we had to.
"Mentally they're ready to go and can't wait, but physically they're a bit shattered."
Despite the extreme heat and it being the first game of the season, there was no additional drinks breaks during last weekend's Raiders v Panthers match.
Both club doctors agreed not to have any, but it was a different scenario last Sunday when the Roosters and Rabbitohs had a drinks break with temperatures in the high 20s.
Panthers five-eighth Jamie Soward and Raiders captain Jarrod Croker were bemused why the Roosters v Souths game had a drinks break and theirs didn't.
Drinks breaks for different games??? Canberra has no beach to get breeze from either.— Jamie Soward (@sowwowofficial) March 6, 2016
It's not just the heat which affected the Raiders.
The hard Canberra Stadium playing surface left players with sore lower limbs after the ground played host to the Brumbies v Waratahs Super Rugby game on Friday night.
There was also an under-20s and a NSW Cup game played at the ground on Saturday before the Raiders v Panthers game.
"The field was in great nick, but it was hard, it's summer," Ashley-Jones said.
"A lot of the blokes got sore legs more than normal.
"That's been an interesting one to manage this week.
"Everything's about recovery and getting them back on the sideline by Saturday, three o'clock."
Ashley-Jones and the rest of the club's performance staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the players can perform at their best.
"The No.1 priority is to get them back to their playing weight with lots of fluids and proper nutrition," Ashley-Jones said.
"We've got seven days, but it feels like we've got two days with the way they're shaping.
"Ricky supports the sport science side of things better than anyone.
"He goes off the numbers and he will change the program on a whim based on that.
"Ricky's been around a long time, but he's probably one of the more modern-thinking coaches I've been around and it helps the players."
NRL ROUND 2
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters at Canberra Stadium, 3pm. Tickets available through Ticketek or at the gate.