Fensom streaks away with Meninga Medal
No one was surprised by the result.
But the record margin of Shaun Fensom's landslide Meninga Medal victory illustrated the lock forward's sensational season during a bleak year for the Raiders.
Fensom, who turns 23 on Saturday, claimed the Raiders' most prestigious individual honour in a canter in front of 650 guests at last night's gala ball at Rydges Lakeside.
Fensom finished on 24 votes, nine clear of runner-up Dane Tilse (15).
It's the biggest gap since the players' player award was renamed in the honour of club legend Mal Meninga in 2008.
Centre Joel Thompson completed the top three with 14 votes, five-eighth Josh McCrone (11) was a further three votes back in fourth with leading tryscorer Blake Ferguson, NSW fullback Josh Dugan and front-rower Brett White rounding out the top five on 10.
Fensom was a stand-out in a Raiders team which won just six of its 24 games and only avoided the wooden spoon due to a superior points differential.
While displaying an underrated attacking game, Fensom made headlines with his incredible defensive work rate.
He racked up 1135 tackles to eclipse the club record set by Alan Tongue in 2006.
The highlight was a competition-high 75-tackle performance in the 20-12 win against the Canterbury Bulldogs in round 11.
It was also the second-most tackles in the NRL this season behind only Parramatta's Nathan Hindmarsh.
But while the Eels veteran is a seasoned campaigner, Fensom - who captained the Raiders' National Youth Competition premiership-winning side in 2008 - served a lengthy apprenticeship in the lower grades before cementing his spot last year.
Fensom's stunning form led to the Raiders extending his contract until 2014.
The Meninga Medal is awarded on a 3-2-1 points system and is voted on by the players at the end of each regular season match.
Fensom also collected another honour last night when he was named the runaway winner of the Tradies 2011 Raider of the Year award, voted on by The Canberra Times rugby league reporters.
In other awards announced last night, Tilse took out the Coaches Award, Rookie of the Year went to emerging halfback Sam Williams while representative prop David Shillington was named the Fred Daly Memorial Clubman of the Year.
2011 MENINGA MEDAL - HONOUR ROLL
Meninga Medal voting
1. Shaun Fensom (24 votes)
2. Dane Tilse (15 votes)
3. Joel Thompson (14 votes)
4. Josh McCrone (11 votes)
5. Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan, Brett White (10 votes)
NRL Coaches Award: Dane Tilse
NRL Rookie of the Year: Sam Williams
Fred Daly Memorial Clubman of the year: David Shillington
Toyota Cup player of the year: Jack Wighton
Toyota Cup Coaches award: Sami Sauiluma
Gordon McLucas Memorial award for Junior Representative Player of the year: Jack Wighton
Geoff Caldwell Vocational Encouragement Award for Career & Education: Geoff Lynch