Shaun Kenny-Dowall insists he will be fit for Hull derby after injury scare

HULL KR captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall says he “scared himself” with his injury against Wigan Warriors and feared the worst before remarkably returning to help inspire a famous victory.

The former New Zealand international looked in some pain as he fell to the floor with no one near him towards the end of the first half of Friday’s absorbing Super League encounter.

From afar, it looked like Kenny-Dowall may have ruptured his Achilles tendon the way he was holding his lower leg before being helped off the field at Hull College Craven Park.

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It certainly seemed like his night’s action was over at least as he hobbled to the sidelines yet the gutsy veteran centre was somehow back out there when the second half kicked off.

Not only that but, as Rovers looked to protect their 16-14 interval lead, Kenny-Dowall delivered a series of blistering carries, continually busting tackles in his trademark style to lift his team-mates and put them on course for back-to-back wins.

The hosts eventually prospered 26-14 in a thrilling game and impressed Robins coach Tony Smith labelled the 33-year-old’s inspirational display as “honestly unreal.”

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Kenny-Dowall explained: “It was my plantar fascia that I did.

“I think I scared myself a little bit as I’d never done that before and there was a big ‘pop’ underneath.

Hull KR's Shaun Kenny-Dowall celebrates victory over Wigan with Kane Linnett. Picture: Alan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“But I’ve just torn that. It’s the connective tissue that runs underneath your foot. I don’t think it’s serious.

“You’ve just got to manage it.”

But, given it is the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes – creating your foot’s arch – it was remarkable that the former Sydney Roosters star could still deliver such a stunning display.

“It was good: to mentally respond and come back and play my role,” added Kenny-Dowall, whose continued excellent form has marked him out as one KR’s top players this term and earned him a new deal for 2022.

Hull KR's Shaun Kenny-Dowall celebrates victory over Wigan.

“I was very happy with being able to bounce back. We injected it at half-time and obviously the injection helped wear off the pain.

“But it was good to get back out there and do my job and come away with a good win.

“It feels awesome to get a victory like that.

“I don’t think we played as well as we have in the past but it was very pleasing to grind out a good win against a quality team and get the confidence back up by defeating a great side like Wigan.”

It was Rovers’ eighth victory of the season and a first home and away league double over Wigan in 37 years.

The success sees them up to fifth as they bid to secure a top-six play-off finish just 12 months after finishing bottom of the competition.

They visit Hull FC on Saturday and Kenny-Dowall insists he will be fit to play in the derby and once more savour the special atmosphere with fans now back in grounds. He said: “I’ll rest it up.

“They can get that magic injection going again probably before the game and at half-time!

“I’m not going to miss this one. It’s a massive game in the calendar that we all look forward to and we all know how much it means to the people of Hull.

“We’ll be ready to go.”

There is added incentive for both sides given each is pushing for those play-off spots; after Friday’s loss in Perpignan, Hull have slipped to seventh, level with sixth-placed Leeds on a 50 per cent win ratio.

Rovers are in a positive mood after picking up four wins from their last six outings, two defeats both coming after narrow losses to leaders Catalans Dragons.

Kenny-Dowall admitted the new Craven Streat fan village, situated behind the posts and opened for the first time against Wigan, helped create a superb atmosphere on Friday.

“I heard the music go on after full-time, too, and it definitely helped with the vibes,” he said.

“It’s great to see everyone back to some normality and to see the Rovers fans having a good time.

“I’m just happy we’re putting in performances that they’re proud of and glad they’re showing up each week and showing the passion that they do.”

Kenny-Dowall averaged 11m per carry – more than anyone on his side – and ran 110m while no one bettered his seven tackle busts in a display that had Smith purring.

“It wasn’t just the courage that he showed and the toughness, it was the quality of what he did when he went back on to lead the way for us,” he said.

“He epitomises what a captain should do and we’ve tipped our hat to him.

“He has done some damage to the arch of his foot. Our physio mentioned to him just before half-time that he could quickly numb it and get him back out.

“He went, ‘Numb it for me so I can’. He epitomised what we’re about. Hats off to him. I thought he was tremendous.”

Smith added: “He’s going to be sore for a number of weeks.

“Whether it’s enough damage to stop him from playing, we may just have to make some adjustments to what his week looks like. We’ll check on that.”