The Tumut Blues have bolstered their already strong front row ranks with Michael Fenn joining the club from the Western Suburbs Magpies.
Having played in the Canterbury Cup competition in 2019, Fenn will bolster a Blues forward pack that already boasts the likes of Zac Masters, Jed Pearce, Jacob Sturt and Matthew Byatt.
Prior to joining the Tigers in 2019, Fenn was the Manly Sea Eagles under 20s captain, spending three years with the club, whilst building a reputation as a hard-working and no nonsense type bookend.
Fenn touched on his recent playing history and explained why he would spend the season playing in the Group 9 competition.
“I was with the West Tigers and was playing for the West Magpies; before that I spent three years with Manly in the under 20s,” Fenn said.
“The Canterbury Cup competition has been cancelled, so there is no reserve grade running for the year and I was sort of tossing up whether i would go back and play union, or do something else.
“The opportunity to play in Tumut popped up, and I thought it would be a great chance to play for the Blues and I have always wanted to play in the Group 9 competition, which looks really strong this year.”
Fenn’s connection to the Blues came through his father, Grant Fenn, who is the current Chief Executive of Downer EDI and a former West Harbour first grade player, who grew up in Tumut.
“He was from here, he grew up here before he went to Syney and played union for West Harbour,” Fenn said.
“I always wanted to get back here and now i have that chance.”
The front rower nearly went down the same route as his father, playing rugby for Riverview during school, even gaining selection in the NSW Schoolboys first XV.
“I went to Riverview and played in their first XV for two years and played in the Combined States and NSW Schoolboys teams as number eight,” Fenn said.
“Then opportunity arose to play league and there is a lot more going on in league back in Sydney compared to union.”
The 21-year-old is looking forward to the chance to team up with Pearce and Masters in the Tumut front row rotation, and hopes to bring a little of his own style to the squad.
“I am looking to help them out, add a little something extra around the ruck and a bit of ball playing and hopefully open it up through the middle a little bit,” Fenn said.
“They are pretty strong footy players from what I have seen and I am hoping to work well off the back of them and contribute where I can.”
Fenn arrived at Tumut for Friday night’s training session at Twickenham and seemingly slotted in well during ball work and worked hard during fitness drills.
“It was a good blow out; it has been tough going training by myself and it was much better training in a group and it was good to meet everyone,” Fenn said.
Blues skipper Dean Bristow said that the signing of Fenn had been a work in progress after earmarking him as a potential recruit during the off season.
“I have been talking to Fenny for a while, he came down and watched a chunk of our games last year,” Bristow said.
“We were pursuing pretty hard to get him over the offseason but it fell through when he stayed on with the Tigers, so when all the covid stuff meant other competitions fell through, I got in touch with him again.
“He is obviously from this area and he was keen to come back and play, so everything fell into place for us.”
Bristow was stoked to have Fenn to call upon in 2020 and he believes the Blues will have the best front row rotation in the competition.
“With our middle rotation, we pretty well thought we already had the best middle in the competition and Fenny adds more depth to it,” Bristow said.
“Hopefully we will be able to get in a good rotation system with Jeddy and Zac and we shouldn’t need to flog them as much.
“We will push them hard to get out there and fully exert themselves, it won’t matter if they come off the field for five or 10 minutes if we have quality players ready to replace them.”