Kenny-Dowall shrugs off mistake criticism

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

Shaun Kenny-Dowall can only laughat it now.

That internet meme that did the rounds after the Knights’ win over the Brisbane Broncos a few weeks back where someone had cleverly transposedhis head onto one of those inflatable wind men with their arms flapping wildly that you see every weekend atcar-yards.

It referenced Kenny-Dowall’sungainly and slightly embarrassingattempt to get out of the road of a Brisbane kick-off that was sailing over the dead-ball line in the second half, a mistake that gave the Broncos a late sniff at anunlikelyvictory.

“Yeah, that memewas pretty funny but it would have been a different story if the errorhad cost us the game,” Kenny-Dowall said.

For the record, it was his second clanger for the game. The first occurredminutesearlier when he dropped a kick cold in his own half and to compoundthe mistake, heforgot to fall on it, gifting possession to Brisbane.

“I let my emotions get the better of me on that one,” he said.

“I was just filthy on myself and lost concentration, switched off and didn’t clean up the mistake.Rightly so, I copped a sprayfrom the coaches after the game.”

That we are highlighting a couple of Kenny-Dowall mistakes is nothing new for the rangy Knights winger.

Over the past three or four seasons, the knock on the former Sydney Roosters veteran has been his propensity to come up with a fumble or a poor pass at crucial times in games.

To his credit, he has copped the criticism on the chin, not dwelt on it and tried to make amends.

“It’s taken a while in my career to learn how to adapt and get over those big errors,”he said.

“ButI’ve probably accepted that I am going to make the odd error and that I’m not perfect. For me, it’s about getting on with my job and not dwelling on it and making things worse.

“They were big errors I made against Brisbane but fortunately, the boys were on that weekend and we defended our line after one of those errors and it didn’t cost us the result.”

That those two mistakesare his only real blemishes in six games for the Knightsthis season says a lot about how consistent he has been forthe team.

But his own individual performances only tell part of the story about why Kenny-Dowall is valued so highly withinthe club.

After he was let go by the Roosters mid-season last year after being caught up in a drug controversy, Kenny-Dowalltook just one meeting with Knights coach Nathan Brown and head of football Darren Mooney to convince them he was worth taking on.

Brownand Mooney admitted later they could not have been more impressed with him and what he could potentially bring to the club.

For his part, Kenny-Dowall says the support he has felt since moving to Newcastleand the extra leadership responsibility he has been given havebeen major factors in his form on the field.

“I’ve landed at a great club here in Newcastle and they have been really supportive of me,”he said.

“I’m settled now, I feel like I’m home and I’m just happy to be in routine and playing footy again.

“Signing here for two years, I wanted to feel stable and secure so buying a house here was the best move for me.

“I have a beautiful partner and she has moved up with me and she’s really helped me stay grounded. To have that love and support at home is really importantfor me.”

So too is having some familiar faces around him at training in former Roosters teammates Mitchell Pearce, Aidan Guerra and Connor Watson.

“It’s funny how it all works. I sort of knew that Aidan was coming but then for Pearcy and Connor to come too –we’ve had plenty of success together and we have a good base of knowledge about what works,” he said.

“It makes it a lot easier to build a strong culture when you have been in a system before that has had some success.”

So how long does he think it will take for the Knights to become a real powerhouse again?

“It’s a process that we are working really hard onand I don’t think you can put a time-frame on it,”he said.

“Every week is a chance to get better and that’s what we are doing at the moment. We are tracking pretty nicely but there are plenty of areas to improve on.

“We just keep plugging away and hopefully, we can turn all the hard work into some consistent success.”

Consistent: He is one of the NRL’s most experienced wingers but Newcastle Knights winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall says he is very conscious of trying to eliminate the errors that can overshadow his good performances. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP

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