Fensom shrugs off broken arm
Even a broken arm can't keep Raiders workhorse Shaun Fensom off the training paddock, with the durable lock revealing a displaced fracture in his forearm and subsequent operation barely caused him to miss a session.
Fensom earned the non-displaced fracture when his forearm was hit by the arm of teammate Rhys Kennedy as he tried to tackle the gangly 196cm prop during an opposed session.
Thinking it was just a cork, the Canberra workhorse finished the session then reported for training the next day.
"The next morning was a Friday morning [December 18] and I was seeing the physio and said 'mate I think I've got a pretty bad cork in my forearm, can you make a pad up'," Fensom explained to NRL.com.
"So he made a pad up for it because we were going to do another opposed session that day.
"During the weights session, I got about three quarters of the way through the weights session and it just displaced the bone. It was a bit of a shock. When I was doing weights I thought 'geez my arm is really hurting' but I thought it's just a cork and I'll push through but one exercise just displaced it. It made a not very nice sound and didn't look very nice. I felt it go."
Fensom was happy to show off the angry scar running almost the entire length of the underside of his left forearm after surgery to repair the damage was performed that Monday, December 21.
"We spoke to the surgeon and said we wanted to get back on the paddock as quick as possible. He's fitted quite a big plate in there and he said it's very stable so we can get back into it," Fensom said.
"It's only just been over four weeks. Two-and-a-half weeks after the operation I was back passing the ball and doing everything. It hasn't needed to be in a cast.
"The only thing I've missed out on is a little bit of contact but we did a lot of contact before Christmas so I haven't missed out on that much at all really.
"I'm still involved in all the skills and the teamwork side of things."
It's a welcome change after Fensom's last off-season was ruined by an ACL injury and subsequent surgery from an injury suffered in Round 21 of 2014, though he still defied expectations to lace on the boots for Round 1 last season despite limited preparation.
The 27-year-old is hoping the drop in interchanges in 2016, down from 10 to 8, will see him return to playing 80 minutes per week after seeing fellow hard-working forward Sia Soliola become the club's number one 80-minute forward for much of last year.
He will face additional competition from England Test forward Elliott Whitehead, who joins the Raiders this year after a couple of seasons of 80-minute games for Catalans.
"I like playing 80 minutes; when I come off and have a rest on the bench I sort of lose the rhythm of the game," Fensom said.
"I'm there to do a role for the team and whatever 'Sticky' [coach Ricky Stuart] and the coaches want me to do that's what I'll do. Definitely with the interchanges it's going to be tough, especially for some sides that have got some big forwards but I think we'll do quite well, we've got quite a mobile pack."
Fensom added that despite his continual and bizarre ongoing snubs from representative sides such as Country Origin and Emerging Blues honours, he hadn't given up hope of a call up in 2016.
"It's definitely a goal. Every athlete needs goals to strive for. I've got to concentrate on playing my best footy here for Canberra and getting as many wins as we can," he said.
"The more wins we get as a team the more selectors are going to be looking at us and we're going to get more people selected in rep teams.
"All the top teams have always got three, four, five players in Origin and they are there deservedly because they've been winning games and selectors do look at them and that's where we need to get to."