Overlooked Fensom won't take it personally
The Raiders faithful were left disappointed when Canberra cult hero Shaun Fensom was overlooked again for Country Origin honours on Monday.
Paul Vaughan, Shannon Boyd, Jack Wighton and skipper Jarrod Croker were all named in Craig Fitzgibbon's squad but they will go without their teammate Fensom for Sunday's clash in Tamworth.
Fensom has been a rock for the Raiders since his debut in 2009 but is yet to be afforded an opportunity to play at a representative level.
Vaughan told NRL.com – that while Fensom's constant overlooking is strange, the man himself won't take it personally.
"He's such a good player and he's one of the most important members in our team in Canberra. He does so much work and he's an absolute machine so it's disappointing he's been overlooked again this year," Vaughan said.
"But the thing about Shaun is that it won't affect him and it won't impact his game at all. He'll push through 50 tackles and make 10 good carries next week for us so he'll be right.
"He's a pretty laid back dude so not much really bothers him but I'm sure if he ever gets the chance he'll love to represent Country. It's something close to his heart because he is a bush boy but until that day comes I guess he can't do too much about it."
Boyd agreed with Vaughan's sentiment and said he would've loved to have made his Country debut alongside Fensom.
"He's a bloody good footballer and it's tough for Shauny because he rips in and does the same job for the Raiders every week," Boyd told NRL.com.
"He never has a bad game so it's hard for him I guess and I wish he was here. It's confusing that's he not rewarded for all his efforts but he won't let it get him down and he'll just move on and get on with his job."
In recent days where we have seen NRL coaches deny their players a chance to play representative football, Vaughan said Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is the complete opposite.
Stuart encourages his players to strive for higher honours according to Vaughan and it's showing with the Raiders' Country quartet joined by City's Aidan Sezer and Kangaroos back-rower Josh Papalii.
Sisa Waqa (Fiji), Kato Ottio and Kurt Baptise (both Papua New Guinea) will also play against one another at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night in their test match.
"The more boys that are involved for the Raiders in rep squads is obviously better for the team," Vaughan said.
"That's what Ricky wants. He wants rep players and we have a fair few going away on rep duties this weekend so it's definitely good for the club and good for the boys individually."
For the moment Vaughan was unworried by the four-day turnaround he and his fellow Raiders playing in Tamworth will have to deal with once their NRL campaign recommences next Thursday night against St George Illawarra.
"I'll tell you after the game [how I feel about it]," he laughed. "It's all about recovery and preparation leading into the game. Hopefully I can get on top of all the bumps and bruises so I can ready myself for another tough one against the Dragons."