Rugby League


Raiders lock Shaun Fensom to bring up century of NRL games against Melbourne Storm

Raiders lock Shaun Fensom wants to become more of an all-round player and not pigeon-holed as a defensive specialist heading into his 100th first-grade game.

Fensom will bring up the century milestone as a one-club player in Saturday night's match with the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.

The 25-year-old has been a stellar contributor for the Raiders since making his NRL debut in 2009 and is a two-time Meninga medallist as the club's player of the year.

Former Raiders captain Alan Tongue says Fensom possesses all the necessary attributes to be the club's long-term successor to skipper Terry Campese.

Renowned for his tireless defence and huge tackle counts that have made him a favourite among fantasy NRL coaches, Fensom would often receive phone calls from his mum about how much work he got through each week.

"I'm known for my defence and get pigeon-holed there a little bit, but my run metres and offloads are getting better each year,'' Fensom said.


"Hopefully I can get out of that pigeon hole and become more of an all-round player. I talk to the coaches about it and what they want me to do, and I want to keep developing my game and get better.''

Statistics obtained by Fairfax Media show that Fensom has made an astounding 4404 tackles in his 99 NRL games, averaging 44.48 a game.

Fensom pinpointed his first-grade debut and the home semi-finals the Raiders had in 2010 and 2012 in front of packed crowds as Canberra Stadium as his career highlights.

Earlier this year he signed a new three-year contract to take him through until 2017, leaving him in the running to captain the Raiders.

"It'd be massive, there's a lot of great players that have captained this club,'' Fensom said. "If that day comes where I wear the little (c) next to my name I'll be happy to do it. I'll keep playing until someone has to drag me off the field and I hope to punch out another 150 or 200 games.''

Tongue captained the Raiders when Fensom made his debut and has no doubt his down-to-earth approach makes him the perfect candidate as the first-grade skipper.

Fensom had experience as a captain when he led the club's under-20s team to the National Youth Competition premiership in 2008.

''I definitely think his time will come and he's a guy that will be able to handle that,'' Tongue said. ''Some players with that extra responsibility and pressure struggle to do that, but I think Shaun, his temperament and the way he goes about things, he'd be ideal.

''He's a guy who leads by his actions, so the players and everybody in the organisation really respects him.

"He'd do a wonderful job. He was a guy that had maturity beyond his years even at a young age. Everybody was impressed with his work ethic, whatever he applied himself to he gave it his best shot and he's still doing that today.

"You need that in your football club as a captain, that's a really important ingredient. You have to do the right things on and off the field.''


Career games: 99

NRL debut: 2009

2009: Games: 2. Tackles: 26

2010: Games: 16. Tackles: 634

2011: Games 24. Tackles: 1135

2012: Games: 22. Tackles: 953

2013: Games: 20. Tackles: 946

2014: Games: 15. Tackles: 710

Career: Games: 99. Tackles: 4404