Hull KR boss hails retiring Shaun Kenny-Dowall: ‘Going to go down as one of the best overseas signings’

Ben Olawumi
Willie Peters and Shaun Kenny-Dowall

Willie Peters (left) and Shaun Kenny-Dowall (right) were key drivers in the deal - Alamy

Hull KR head coach Willie Peters paid tribute to retiring captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall, saying that the Kiwi icon will go down in history as ‘one of the best overseas signings’.

The 35-year-old announced back in May that he would retire at the season’s end, and played his last-ever game yesterday as the Robins exited the Super League play-offs with a 42-12 defeat at Wigan Warriors. They will now face Catalans Dragons in next weekend’s Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Kenny-Dowall – who has 21 New Zealand caps to his name – moved to Craven Park from the NRL ahead of 2020 and brings the curtain down on his career four seasons later having led KR out at Wembley in the Challenge Cup final against Leigh Leopards earlier this year, and done so again in yesterday’s last-four clash.

Albeit in a non-playing capacity, the veteran will be sticking around the place, taking up a role as an academy coach from 2024, and boss Peters had nothing but praise for him post-match at the DW Stadium.

Willie Peters hails retiring Shaun Kenny-Dowall: ‘One of the best overseas signings’

After Kenny-Dowall had made his 93rd and final appearance for the club, Peters said: “He’s going to be very difficult [to replace], because of what he brings to this team on and off the field.

“The fortunate thing for us is that we’ve got him around next season, obviously not as player. They’re big shoes to fill and whoever fills those shoes, it’s more about them as an individual, we can’t compare them to Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

“We are getting good players in next year, but with what he has done for our club, he’s going to go down as one of the best overseas signings, if not the best.”

The former Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights ace, who featured for the Combined Nations All Stars in 2022, ends his time as a player with 25 tries and 100 points exactly to his name in a Robins shirt.

Hull KR prepare to go ‘from good to great’ in 2024; Peters stresses importance of having right ‘culture’

Kenny-Dowall isn’t the only squad member KR will lose ahead of 2024, as boss Peters looks to build on what has been an impressive first year in the hotseat.

Ethan Ryan (TBC), Sam Wood (Castleford Tigers), Jimmy Keinhorst (TBC), Brad Schneider (Penrith Panthers) and Jack Walker (Hull FC) are all moving on, while remaining off-contract pair Luis Johnson and Connor Moore also look set to be heading for the exit door.

The confirmed additions at Craven Park so far are Oliver Gildart (Leigh Leopards), Peta Hiku (North Queensland Cowboys), AJ Wallace (Bradford Bulls), Tyrone May (Catalans) and Niall Evalds (Castleford).

‘Culture’ has been a buzzword for Peters over the last 12 months, and he re-iterated it oncemore following yesterday’s defeat as he bid farewell to all of those heading for pastures new.

He said: “The players, the staff, we’ve all been a part of this. Every single person in the club has worked hard to get us in this position.

Now it is just about bringing some new people in, and we’ve got a culture. They need to fit into our culture, and going from good to great, that’s our next challenge.”

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