The -4.9 degree temperature was one insight into life on the streets. But it was the roleplay as a victim of domestic violence that really opened up Sia Soliola's eyes.
After a night roughing it at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout at Canberra Airport, Soliola headed to Canberra Raiders training on Friday with an added appreciation of his own life.
But also knowing how important it is for the Green Machine to keep their momentum going over a stop-start few weeks in the NRL.
Soliola has raised more than $6200 for the cause, but said he got so much more out of it than experiencing what it's like living out in sub-zero temperatures.
It's one of the many things the Raiders prop does for the community, along with working in a soup kitchen.
But Soliola knows he's got it easy. When morning came, he jumped in his car, went home for a quick shower, and then went to training.
Others don't have it quite that easy.
"It was really awesome. It was a really good experience," Soliola said.
"They chucked in an exercise which I think they called the walk the mile.
"Vinnies set up a roleplay where you play a real-life scenario that could happen and you're trying to put yourself in similar shoes to what people go through.
"Domestic violence was the scenario I got and it felt very real. That was probably the highlight of my night."
MORE RAIDERS NEWS
The NRL has the weekend off for State of Origin and representative round, breaking up a three-game winning streak for the Raiders.
Soliola said they were determined to keep the momentum going over the next few weeks, which will be further interrupted by another bye.
They play Parramatta in Darwin next Saturday, then have another weekend off before returning to face St George Illawarra in Wollongong in round 17.
"We want to have our break, but we don't want to lose any momentum that we've gained throughout the last few weeks," Soliola said.
"It's a mentality that you're going to have to go in with. It means we've got to put all our eggs into this one game [against Parramatta] because there's no excuses after that because we're going to have another break."
Soliola said the imminent returns of England international Josh Hodgson (thumb) and Corey Horsburgh (elbow) would boost the squad for different reasons.
Hodgson is their co-captain and star hooker, and he could be back to face the Eels next week after missing the past three games.
Siliva Havili has been shouldering the dummy half role in his absence, with Tom Starling making his Raiders debut off the bench as his understudy.
Horsburgh has been a revelation this year since making his debut in the round-one win over the Gold Coast Titans.
But he could also be back in time for the Darwin trip after missing the past two games.
Soliola said it would increase competition among the playing group.
"Having Hodgo back training with us is going to be a huge boost for the joint, him being a very influential part of the group," he said.
"Corey will be back training and it's one of those things where everyone's fighting for spots now."
VINNIES CEO SLEEPOUT
To donate to Sia Soliola go to ceosleepout.org.au.