Raiders’ ironman ready for NRL battle

Shaun Fensom has long been considered Canberra’s ironman.

Now he’s got a metal plate and almost a dozen screws to prove it.

The veteran Raiders lock broke his arm during a training session in December, before then displacing it while lifting weights the next day thinking it was just a cork.

The fracture required surgery and plenty of recovery time, forcing him to sit out the club’s one and only pre-season trial against Newcastle last weekend.

“I could’ve played last week but the medical staff erred on the side of caution,” Fensom said on Tuesday.

“But I’ll be right to go round one.”

Fensom, 27, has been cut down by injury in recent seasons.

In August 2014, he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament but defied the odds in his recovery to be ready for the start of last season.

A year earlier, he broke his wrist but insisted on playing a week later.

“Injuries are part and parcel of the game,” he said.

“It’s how you come back from it and how you play yourself when you’re injured that makes a player.”

Typically, Fensom insists he won’t be holding back if named to play in the Raiders’ season-opener against Penrith on March 5 at GIO Stadium.

“There’ll be no hesitation at all,” he said.

“There’s a big plate and about 10 screws in there now, stronger than what it was before.

“We’re training at match intensity, and if I wasn’t fit to play round one I wouldn’t go out there and put the team under that sort of pressure.”

Fensom is hoping to return to his 80-minute ways, especially now with the new interchange rules.

He feels the drop from 10 to eight will make the game faster and playing more minutes would help the bigger guys.

“The more athletic players you’ve got out there, the better you’re going to go,” he said.

Star five-eighth Blake Austin, coming back from major off-season shoulder surgery, is also expecting to play a full 80 minutes against the Panthers despite missing the trial.

Anything less would be silly and selfish, he said.

“I’m really confident with where I’m at and the time I’ve got left that I’ll be on the field,” said Austin.

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