Fensom: consistency is essential
There's one reason why teams like the Bulldogs and Manly have been sitting atop the ladder for the majority of the season – sheer consistency. It’s a quality that workhorse Raiders lock Shaun Fensom ensures his Canberra club is chasing, after a dire first half of the season.
While he clearly builds his own game on consistency considering his phenomenal workload every week, Fensom admits that it’s something the Raiders team have lacked throughout the year, having failed to string two wins together.
"That's it you know. We need to get a bit more consistency behind us and string more than one win together. We'll win one, lose one, win one and then lose two so we just need a bit more consistency," Fensom told NRL.com.
Quizzed on where it went wrong for his team against the Roosters last weekend, Fensom acknowledged that the game was lost in the first half as James Maloney and Daniel Tupou constantly threatened the Raiders’ right-edge defence, producing four tries between them by the final whistle.
"They got a bit of a roll-on over the top of us and we didn't slow them down in the ruck enough and that's what lead to their tries, and in the second half, we corrected that and I think we were on top of them there," Fensom said.
"They scored all those tries off the back of really quick play-the-balls and our right hand side defence couldn't get back up and make the tackles just because they were playing the ball so quick."
With the Raiders sitting in 14th with four wins and eight losses to their name, Fensom agreed that their game against the Broncos this Monday night was a massive one in the context of the season.
"It's a bit of a logjam in the middle of the table so I reckon those final four spots in the top eight are going to come down to the last couple of rounds of the season but you don't want to leave it to chance. You want to try and win as many as possible," Fensom said.
"[The Broncos] are coming off from a good win on the weekend. They had a fair few points in them on the weekend so it's going to be a tough ask.
"We've put in a few solid performances here in Canberra and we're hoping to back that up this Monday. They have some good forwards but if you look at our forwards they're no slouches either."
With Raiders coach Ricky Stuart naming the same 17 as last weekend, the seeds have been sown for a more consistent second half of the season in the nation’s capital. Whether that happens or not though remains to be seen.