Rugby League


Canberra Raiders' Shaun Fensom, Joel Edwards set to play Penrith Panthers

Canberra Raiders back-rower Shaun Fensom has been cleared of serious injury to his elbow and is likely to play against Penrith on Saturday, quashing early fears he could be sidelined for the long term. 

And in another positive development, fellow back-rower Joel Edwards is set to line up against the Panthers, despite also leaving the field with concussion midway through Sunday's 30-18 win over Souths. 

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Fensom will have a fitness test later this week, but the club is confident he will take his place after he was diagnosed with a grade one elbow ligament injury, sustained in an awkward tackle against Souths.

Regarded as one of the toughest players in the game, there were initial concerns Fensom could be out for a few weeks after he left the field in severe pain. 

It's a huge relief for the club, which is already without star Test back-rower Josh Papalii until at least the round six home clash with Newcastle. 

Edwards said he has recovered well after coming off second best attempting a tackle on Rabbitohs hit man Sam Burgess early in the second half. 


"There was a 10-minute period where I wasn't OK but I'm sweet now, I haven't had any headaches,'' he said. 

Edwards admitted players needed to adjust to the cultural change of being banned from returning to the field with concussion. 

Last week, Souths fullback Greg Inglis said he was ''90 per cent'' sure he would have returned had doctors allowed him, despite suffering severe concussion against the Tigers. 

"It's there to protect players when sometimes they're not up to it,'' Edwards said.

"It's not one case fits all but in extreme cases it is warranted, everyone has to follow it.

"You don't want to come off the footy field at any time.''

Former Knight Edwards also expressed his condolences to Alex McKinnon and his family after it was reported he might never walk again after breaking two vertebrae in a tackle against Melbourne nine days ago. 

Edwards played alongside McKinnon at Newcastle in 2012 before moving to the Raiders, and said his friend's battle put football into perspective. 

"It hits home, it makes you want to live each day like it's your last,'' he said. 

"You don't go to work and expect to have something like that change your life in an instant. 

"It's a real tragedy what's happened to him, I feel for him and his family and also the Melbourne guys, I feel for Jordan [McLean].

"It makes you focus on the things which are important to you, and that's your family, friends and your health.'' 

Penrith have made a few changes after last week's disappointing loss to Parramatta, with winger Josh Mansour and halfback Peter Wallace named to return from injury. 

Winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will make his NRL debut in place of veteran Kevin Naiqama, while former NSW Origin prop Tim Grant has earned a recall. 

Canberra is searching for a third straight away win after road triumphs against Newcastle and Souths.


NRL round five: Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders at Sportingbet Stadium, 5.30pm

TV: Live on Fox Sports