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13 hours ago
It can get pretty chilly at the foot of the Blue Mountains in the dead of winter, but Penrith five-eighth Preston Campbell's first trip to England has introduced him to cold he's never felt before.
Campbell said he could hardly feel his hands when sleet hit the players as they trained in Leeds on Monday for Friday's World Club Challenge against English Super League champion Bradford.
The Panthers trained in near 40-degree heat a fortnight ago but have suffered icy conditions since arriving in the north of England last Thursday, with a maximum of four degrees forecast for Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium on Friday night.
Campbell said the players have adjusted slowly but was confident the conditions wont disrupt their game against the big and powerful Bulls.
"I knew it was going to be cold over here but I got a bit of a rude shock, I've never been this cold," he said.
"We had sleet at training the other day and we got through that OK, but we're not used to it.
"The only time we get to train in the real cold is when we go to New Zealand or Canberra.
"The thing I really have trouble with is keeping my hands warm. It got so cold I couldn't feel them. I had problems catching the ball and passing the ball.
"It was like a late reaction. Normally when you catch the ball you react straight away, but it took a while for me to feel the ball hit my hand, sometimes there was a bit of a delay.
"We were asked whether we'd be interested in wearing gloves but I don't think anyone was keen."
At least the cold is suiting Campbell's groin injury which threatened to force the electrifying playmaker out of world championship match until he was cleared the day before the 18-man squad flew out of Sydney.
"The cold weather is actually helping it. Funnily, it's not stiff like it normally would be in cold weather," he said.
"I just can't feel it at all."
The Panthers are used to cold receptions and still feel insulted, and motivated, by some critics who wrote off their domination of the NRL premiership last year as a fluke.
"Even though we won the comp we had people who thought we weren't the best team," Campbell said.
"But between ourselves we knew we were the best side and we want to prove that again and prove it was no fluke.
"It'd be great to do it on a big stage like this and go home as world champion. That'd be a great start to the season for us."