Shaun Fensom of the Cowboys.
Shaun Fensom of the Cowboys.

NRL’s toughest man: The stunning grit of Shaun Fensom

SHAUN Fensom is the toughest man in the NRL.

Not convinced? Wait until you've read the ridiculous list of injuries he's had, and the ones he's tried to play through.

The image of him trying to play on after dislocating his elbow at Leichhardt Oval on Thursday night is merely the latest in a string of similar incidents.

The joint was clearly not connected properly, and Fensom barely winced as North Queensland trainers yanked on his arm to pop it back into place.

He then proceeded to stand up, and run towards his place in the defensive line to defend the next set.

Luckily the Cowboys staff told him to pull his head in and get off the field.

Shaun Fensom has his dislocated elbow put back in place.
Shaun Fensom has his dislocated elbow put back in place.

In 2010 Fensom was in the early stages of his career and almost had it ended abruptly by a lacerated kidney.

He had suffered the gruesome injury during Canberra's semi final against Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium. Despite the pain, he played on for half an hour.

He was told later if the organ had ruptured, he would have had to undergo emergency surgery and his NRL days would be done.

"They said there were rules that you're not allowed to play with one kidney," Fensom said at the time.

"Just in case the same thing happens, and that would result in me dying."

Shaun Fensom of the Cowboys in pain during the 2017 grand final.
Shaun Fensom of the Cowboys in pain during the 2017 grand final.

He returned to the field the next season.

In 2014 he had reconstructive surgery on a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

He suffered the injury during Canberra's round 21 game against the Warriors.

With the Raiders already out of finals contention, the injured Fensom attempted to go back on the field even after medical staff had told him of a likely ACL tear.

He virtually had to be wrestled by Terry Campese and Brett White to prevent him doing further damage to the joint.

"My body comes second when I'm out on the field," he said.

On another occasion in Canberra, Fensom broke his arm during a training session on Thursday.

The following day he was in the gym lifting weights, when he realised something didn't feel right. Scans later revealed the break, much to the astonishment of the medical staff.

When he joined the Cowboys in 2017, he played part of the season with a medial ligament injury. Despite the issue, he insisted on taking the field each week to help North Queensland during a horror injury run.

Then he made it to the grand final.

Shaun Fensom acknowledges the crowd after breaking his leg.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Shaun Fensom acknowledges the crowd after breaking his leg. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images) Matt King

And a few minutes into the big game, he snapped his tibia and fibula bones in his leg in a freak collision with a teammate.

As he was taken from the field on a medicab he stuck a thumb up in the air to let everyone know he was doing fine. He later sent a text message to teammates from his hospital bed saying "sorry".

Fensom truly is a man of steel.


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