Hull KR captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall driven by Tony Smith motivation as he targets Challenge Cup glory

Much has changed at Craven Park since Hull KR booked their place in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

The quarter-final win over Castleford Tigers was followed by Super League victories against Hull FC and Toulouse Olympique over Easter, leaving the Robins well placed in both competitions.

But then came the bombshell that Tony Smith will be moving on at the end of the season.

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The news took the players by surprise at a time when Rovers are on an upward trajectory.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall, right, is dreaming of leading Hull KR out at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Picture: SWPix.com)

KR's campaign could go one of two ways as the Smith era winds down but Shaun Kenny-Dowall has been encouraged by the reaction.

The Rovers captain is determined to crown the club's transformation under Smith with a first major trophy since 1985.

"He's a massive reason why we are playing in this game with what he's brought to the club," Kenny-Dowall told The Yorkshire Post.

"It's really galvanised us and made us want to send him out a winner. This is a great opportunity for us to do that.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall takes in his surroundings at Elland Road. (Picture: SWPix.com)

"It speaks volumes of the character in the group that we haven't let it have a negative effect.

"It's really brought us tighter together and we're making it as little a distraction as possible. We're worrying about the things we can control."

For Kenny-Dowall, it could be the last chance to add to his list of honours in the game.

The 34-year-old, who won an NRL Grand Final with Sydney Roosters and two Four Nations titles in New Zealand colours, has allowed himself to dream about leading the Robins out in the final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 28.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall, left, was appointed as captain by Tony Smith, right, at the start of last year. (Picture: SWPix.com)

"Of course, that's why you're here," said the veteran centre.

"That's going to be our reward for playing well on Saturday night.

"You do think about it and go through the process but you can't forget your job and what's in front of you this week."

KR's planning for Saturday began last week when Kenny-Dowall and hooker Jez Litten were rested for the Super League game against Leeds Rhinos.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Wakefield. (Picture: SWPix.com)

It brought Kenny-Dowall's remarkable run of 54 consecutive starts since his arrival to an end and the Robins suffered in his absence, going down 12-0 at Headingley after producing an ill-disciplined performance.

A frustrated spectator last week, Kenny-Dowall is ready to help Rovers deliver a response on the big stage at Elland Road.

"I've recharged the batteries," he said. "It was nice to have a rare rest and I'm feeling good to go this week.

"But it was tough to watch. Obviously you want to contribute and help turn around that form but it wasn't to be. There were some low-energy performances out there after the Easter period.

"We know what we're capable of and that was below the standard we set for ourselves.

"But we've been in plenty of close games and have played really well over the last seven weeks. We can take a lot of confidence from that."

Shaun Kenny-Dowall during the Super League game against Huddersfield. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Belief has not been an issue for Hull KR in recent times but they have found Huddersfield a tough nut to crack.

Rovers have won only one of the previous eight meetings between the teams, five of which Kenny-Dowall played in.

He knows exactly what is coming on Saturday against a team that complete high and defend with intent.

"They're pretty consistent and know how to grind out a win," said Kenny-Dowall.

"We're going to have to be good in all the little effort areas. They stick to their systems pretty well and we're going to have to match them in all those departments."

The Robins got a taste of semi-final rugby in Super League last September when they lost to Catalans Dragons in Perpignan.

As Smith's side look to take the next step and reach a final, Kenny-Dowall has stressed the importance of managing their emotions.

"It's huge," he said. "As a player, you want to play in the big games and this is one of those.

"It's really nice to see the game taken to a prestigious stadium like Leeds United. Not many rugby players get to say they've played here.

"There are plenty of Leeds United fans (in the Hull KR dressing room) that are buzzing to run out here at the weekend. It's a big game and we're really excited.

"We have to make sure we're not getting overawed by the occasion. In saying that, we're not happy to just be here; we want to get to the final.

"We want to enjoy the moment but we have to get the balance right to make sure we get the best out of ourselves on Saturday."