THE Cowboys are set to clinch a deal to bring tenacious Raiders back-rower Shaun Fensom to Townsville this season.
Club insiders were confident on Thursday night that Fensom would agree to terms and add extra defensive workrate to their pack.
North Queensland’s opening premiership match is against Canberra, as it happens, in Townsville on Saturday week.
Fensom brings experience to a pack that lost James Tamou to Penrith and the retired Ben Hannant from their 2016 rotation.
If he is able to move to Townsville as early as next week it would remain to be seen how quickly he could demonstrate to coach Paul Green he is fit and ready to play first grade.
Fensom would fill a hole for the Cowboys. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)
Fensom, 28, has twice won the Raiders best-and-fairest but has come to accept his possibilities would be limited at Canberra.
He played 14 games for Canberra last year but played NSW Cup matches before being he was unable to win selection from coach Ricky Stuart in any of their three finals games.
Stuart gave former Queensland Origin forward Dave Taylor a chance in the pre-season to win a contract, but Raiders list manager Peter Mulholland told a Canberra media organisation last week that Fensom was unfortunate to be in a “position we’re fairly flush in’’.
The 96kg Fensom has played 139 first grade matches, all for Canberra, and averaged 44 tackles over his 23 NRL appearances in 2015.