Courtesy of Tumut and Adelong Times
If the Group 9 competition didn’t know who Michael Fenn was before today, they do now; after the bullocking front rower’s performance for the Tumut Blues in their 16-all draw against the Gundagai Tigers at Twickenham Oval on Saturday.
Coming on as a substitution just after the 20 minute mark, Fenn’s first touch was an act of sheer brute force, which left a vocal Madigan Hill in raptures.
The 21-year-old firmly squared up Jake Elphick, running straight at the young back rower before leaving him flat on his back and pushing on for another 10 metres.
Fenn was Tumut’s best forward, proving difficult to bring down and equally as tough in defence.
The former Manly Warringah Sea Eagle and Wests Tiger, who only recently joined the Blues after the Canterbury NSW Cup was cancelled, was a class above his counterparts and added an extra level to the already formidable front row pairing of Zac Masters and Jed Pearce.
One man that was very happy to have Fenn on his side was Blues co-captain/coach, Dean Bristow, who suggested the best was yet to come from the young Sydney-based forward.
“He was massive for us. As soon as he came on the field, he made an impact and ran over the top of blokes and he is only going to get better with game time,” Bristow said.
Bristow indicated that Fenn’s strong performance would make it harder for the Blues coaching staff to pick and stick with their front row rotation.
“He really complements our forward rotation. It is hard at the moment, we have so many good middles there to choose and it is difficult trying to get them all on the field,” Bristow said.
Fenn, who was making his Tumut and Group 9 debut, loved the physicality of the match and was happy to be back playing rugby league.
“It was good to get back into it, I really enjoyed the physical side of it,” Fenn said.
“It was a good game, when I got out there it was really quick and frantic but once we got the game under control, it sort of settled down.
“I got my second wind and got through my work, so iI was pretty happy with how everything went.”
Fenn gave credit to the Blues starting front rowers of Masters and Pearce, suggesting he was only able to make an impact after their hard work in the opening 20 minutes of the fiery local derby.
Still, the Blues big man admitted the Blues left their run a little too late, after levelling up the match at 16-all on the final siren.
“Zac (Masters) and Jeddy (Pearce) laid a real good platform for me to come on and do my job,” Fenn said.
“I thought it was a good effort by Tumut to come back and draw it up, but we left it a little too late for the win but it was still a great effort by all the boys.”