Kiwi star quits NRL ‘comfort zone’ for Hull KR

New Zealand's Shaun Kenny-Dowall (left).
New Zealand's Shaun Kenny-Dowall (left).
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FORMER Kiwi star Shaun Kenny-Dowall says he is read to step out of his “comfort zone” after leaving the NRL to join Hull Kingston Rovers.

The East Yorkshire club have confirmed the signing of the Newcastle Knights winger/centre winner on a two-year deal.

Brisbane-born Kenny-Dowall, 31, won a Grand Final with Sydney Roosters in 2013 and twice lifted the Four Nations for New Zealand.

“It’s a huge honour to be coming over to Hull Kingston Rovers in the Super League,” said the player, who has made almost 300 NRL appearances and scored nine tries in 21 Tests for the Kiwis. “I know that the club is steeped in history and I’m really looking forward to joining the Rovers.

“I’m excited to be experiencing a new competition over in England after so long in the NRL.

“I love the way the Super League is played and for myself, it’s a new challenge to move out of my comfort zone of the NRL and step into a different arena and test myself on the other side of the world.

“I’ve always wanted to tick that box in my career and I’m very grateful to Hull KR for giving me that opportunity.”

Rovers – who released captain Joel Tomkins on compassionate grounds on Wednesday – only survived relegation by points difference and, therefore, head coach Tony Smith is starting a major re-build at Craven Park.

They have seen a dozen players leave since the start of the season and Kenny-Dowall becomes only their third recruit so far for 2020 after Hull FC duo Dean Hadley and Jez Litten.

He is due to arrive late next month and said: “I see the great relationships that Tony has had with different clubs and the players involved and I’m a really big fan of his philosophies.

“We both want to make Hull KR a competitive force in the Super League again and that was a big, significant reason that I wanted to sign at the club.”

Smith added: “It is fantastic that the club has been able to bring someone over with Shaun’s experience – it is important for us to maintain those high standards, in terms of people with experience, with what they can bring to the table.

“The 2020 squad is largely going to be a young and enthusiastic side. We have lost a couple of experienced players, and it’s vital that we regain that mix. We’ll be maintaining those high standards by bringing in somebody of Shaun’s calibre.”