Titans Tyrone Roberts tackled by Cowboys Shaun Fensom during the Round 13 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville, Saturday, June 3, 2017. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
Forget $10 million man Jason Taumalolo.
Michael Morgan has hailed bargain buy Shaun Fensom as the "perfect example" of North Queensland's never say die attitude ahead of Sunday's NRL grand final with Melbourne.
Morgan and Taumalolo have dominated the headlines as the Cowboys launched an unlikely title tilt after relying on other results to scrape into the top eight.
But Morgan said unsung hero Fensom typified what the Cowboys were all about as they looked to spring a boilover against the Storm.
"I am not the one out there making 40 tackles a game, taking the tough carries at our own end," he said.
"A guy like Shaun Fensom makes 30 tackles a game but it won't get spoken about.
"I think he made nearly 30 tackles and didn't miss one against the Roosters (in last weekend's preliminary final).
"Those are the small areas in the game where you need people to put their hand up and be accountable - he's the perfect example of it.
"And if you don't have people willing to do that you won't be successful."
Workaholic prop Fensom has emerged as North Queensland's buy of the year after his arrival from Canberra on the eve of the season.
Cut by the Raiders, Fensom had only a couple of days' notice before uprooting his family - wife Leah and infant daughter Elsie - and taking them north to Townsville.
Fensom had not toured the facilities or spoken personally to Cowboys coach Paul Green.
But the former Raiders lock still grabbed the NRL lifeline, reinventing himself as a starting prop for 2015 premiers North Queensland.
"I just had to move on. The opportunity presented itself to move up here and I jumped at it," Fensom told AAP.
"I said to my manager 'let's go'. Two or three days later I was up here training with them - I haven't looked back since."
Fensom said there were no hard feelings with the Raiders where he played 139 games from 2009.
"Football is a business now. There's cap issues - it's worked out unreal for me," he said.
Fensom has also added to his reputation as an NRL hard man at North Queensland, playing through their finals campaign with a knee medial ligament complaint.
It is typical of a player who has soldiered on in the past with a torn kidney and in another Raiders game nursed a fractured wrist.
Legend has it in 2015 that Fensom broke his arm at training but didn't realise until after he pumped weights the next day at Canberra.
"It is all still very surreal at the moment," Fensom said of preparing for a grand final.
"Just to be in this pack is pretty overwhelming at the moment.
"I am just going to soak it up and enjoy it then get out there and rip in."
© AAP 2017