Fensom eyes step up for Raiders
Terry Campese, Shaun Fensom and Josh Dugan model the Raiders' 2013 kit on Wednesday. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
He's already a leader in his own right, now Shaun Fensom has declared himself ready to make it official should he be elevated into the Canberra Raiders' leadership group next season.
Former skipper Alan Tongue regards Fensom as a Raiders captain-in-waiting, with his tireless work ethic and ability to handle off-field duties particularly impressive.
At present Terry Campese, Brett White, David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Shaun Berrigan comprise the Raiders' leadership group, known as the Club Player Representatives.
Shaun Fensom and Jarrod Croker take a break during Wednesday's photoshoot. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
But Canberra hasn't ruled out a younger player joining the fold to give the club's wealth of youngsters an official voice, and will reassess it before Christmas.
This year Test prop Shillington admitted he found Fensom inspiring after a herculean performance against Brisbane in round 24, a win which kick-started the Raiders' finals surge.
A host of Canberra's younger players including Fensom, Josh McCrone, Jarrod Croker and Joel Thompson trained with leadership coach Sam Patterson in 2012 and will do so again next season.
"As of yet we haven't really set the senior leadership group, but if my name's tossed up and I go in there, it wouldn't worry me one bit stepping up," Fensom said on Wednesday.
"It would be good to get in there and toss a few ideas around and have some input into what goes on around the club.
"I'd voice a different option and if I get tossed up then I'm more than happy to do it."
Fensom is quietly confident he can increase his lauded work ethic even further next season with a full pre-season under his belt.
The 24-year-old has endured disrupted pre-season starts the past two years due to a torn kidney and shoulder surgery.
"It should help me a fair bit with my fitness and strength in the gym," Fensom said.
"The last two pre-seasons I wasn't allowed to touch a weight before Christmas. I'm straight back into it this year, and I'm a lot stronger than when I finished off last year already."
Winger Sandor Earl is another Raider confident of elevating his game further after a long overdue full summer program.
The former Panther was outstanding after joining Canberra mid-season, despite a pre-season ruined by double shoulder surgery.
"I think I'm in the same boat, I haven't had a pre-season in a while, especially last year," he said.
"I've mentioned before even this year I was underdone, next year at 100 per cent with a full pre-season behind me I'm so excited what I will hopefully be able to achieve."
Meanwhile, Croker, Shillington, Josh Dugan and Josh Papalii were the Raiders players included in a 64-player short list announced on Wednesday for the NRL All Stars side.
The recognition is just reward for centre Croker, who was the NRL's top point-scorer last year.
"It's obviously a bit exciting, but you don't want to get too caught up in that stuff and I'll see how I go," Croker said.