No complacency for Fensom as he prepares for his first trial of the year
Wednesday 13 February 2013 3:30 PM
Despite winning back-to-back Mal Meninga Medals, Shaun Fensom dismisses any talk in the lead up to his first trial of the year that he is guaranteed a starting position in the Canberra Raiders forward pack for 2013.
No doubt, Raiders fans in their droves would rubbish talk that the club favourite won’t be wearing his iconic number 13 jersey in round one however Fensom’s claims are just indicative of the intense competition for spots in the Canberra back-row.
“I’m definitely not going into this season with any complacency whatsoever,” said Fensom.
“I’ve been lucky to have had two good years personally but I’m looking to improve as a player with each year, not go backwards or rest on my laurels.
“We’ve got a lot of depth in the back-row this year and a lot of competition for spots and the new recruits in the back-row are going really well. We’ve got Jake Foster who went quite well in the Indigenous All Stars game and Joel Edwards has come into the middle there as well and has really impressed during the pre-season.
“Then we’ve obviously got Papa [Josh Papalii] and Joely T [Joel Thompson] so there’s no room for complacency by anyone in our roster.”
The trial this Saturday against NSW Cup teams Mounties and Wyong at Cook Park in Mount Pritchard will be Fensom’s first for the year after being rested from the Storm trial last weekend due to a slight ankle strain.
Despite that slight niggle to his ankle, Fensom believes this is the fittest and freshest he has been before the start of the season in years.
“I’m pretty excited for this trial,” said Fensom. “We’ve got four 30 minute quarters against the two NSW Cup teams Mounties and Wyong so it will be a good hit out with plenty of minutes to be played by the team.”
“I’m feeling really good physically. We’ve had a tough pre-season and it’s been my first pre-season I’ve had that hasn’t been interrupted by an operation or being injured over the off-season.
“There’s nothing like match fitness though. It doesn’t matter how much fitness work you do out on the paddock at training you’re still going to be blowing hard in a game so there’s nothing like getting out there and getting some match fitness under your belt before the season starts.”
Given the competition for spots, Fensom is also adamant that nobody in the Raiders roster will be taking Wyong or Mounties lightly, especially when there will be dozens of unsigned ambitious rugby league players looking to impress Coach David Furner.
“We’re going in a bit blind really as we don’t know too much about the players in either team but we’re going to go out there and play in it with NRL intensity. I’m sure they’ll be plenty of players from Mounties and Wyong who will be trying to make a name for themselves and will try to put a few of us on our arses.
“We’ve just got to get out there and concentrate on our footy though so that we’re in the best possible position when round one comes around.”