New nib Newcastle Knights recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall could be just days away from his debut in the red and blue jersey.
The 29-year-old is this week out on the training field with the full squad, preparing for a return against his former Club.
“I have been training really hard, getting to know the place, the boys, the plays and putting in the hard work so I’m really excited to get out on the field,” smiled Kenny-Dowall.
“It is going to be different on the other end, running out on Allianz stadium, but I’m really excited.
“I know the way they play and I know the place like the back of my hand, so I’m really looking forward to getting out there.”
Kenny-Dowall’s insight into the Sydney Roosters, where he spent 10 years, has been useful in the lead up to Friday's encounter.
“We have had a few chats about the way they play, their strengths and some of their weaknesses so I’m really trying to help the team as much as I can,” explained Kenny-Dowall.
“They love going through the middle of the park but they have got some big outside backs and big front rowers so it’s always going to be a tough challenge up against those boys.”
While Kenny-Dowall credits his former Club for making him the player he is today, he believes it’s time to create a new chapter.
“I have had plenty of good times at the Roosters and they gave me a lot as a person and as a rugby league player and I’ll be forever thankful to them for that,” he explained.
“All good things will eventually come to an end and I’ve started a new chapter here at the Knights and I’m very thankful. I’m closing one door and opening another.”
Joining a young side, the outside back admits he’ll need to get used to being the experienced head young players look to.
“I am used to having those senior guys around me and there’s not too many older guys that have played too many games so it’s definitely a new challenge,” Kenny-Dowall explained.
The 29-year-old maintains he is grateful to the Knights for sticking by him in tough times and wants to re-pay their faith.
“I want to earn the respect of the coach, players and the Newcastle community as a whole,” he said.
“I have learnt a lot of lessons and I just want to be the best person that I can be for the Knights and for myself.
Kenny-Dowall maintains this Friday’s clash with the Roosters will undoubtedly be a challenge against a top side, but he knows the Knights have it in them.
“They showed last week that they can compete with quality opposition and the Roosters are a great team so it’s going to be a great challenge,” commented Kenny-Dowall.
“If we can play to our potential, we can be competitive; we have shown that and we’ve just got to get the little areas right and go toe to toe with them.”
The new recruit is also looking forward to his first home game in the red and blue.
“The town is great; they love their rugby league up here and you rock up to McDonald Jones Stadium with 16,000, 20,000 people, considering the position we are on the table, and the support has been overwhelming,” said Kenny-Dowall.
“They have welcomed me with open arms so I’m really appreciative of that.”
The Knights take on the Rooster at Allianz Stadium on Friday. NYC kick off at 3.45pm before NRL at 6pm.