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Shaun Kenny-Dowall is a player that has shown resilience in the face of adversity.

The 30-year-old doesn't deny he's had ups and downs both on and off the field, but his strength and determination to overcome it has been somewhat inspirational.

In 2015, when at the Sydney Roosters, the veteran back found himself taking a step back to reassess his life.

He may have been playing incredible football at the time but found some solace in seeking professional help to take care of his mental health.

He realises now how vital that step was to become the man he is today.


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"It wasn't a nice thing to go through but in times of adversity, I think you learn the most about yourself and that's what's happened with me," said Kenny-Dowall.

"I was fortunate enough to seek some professional help, that gave me some perspective. I spent some time away from the game and that gave me the chance to re-evaluate my whole life and some of the habits I've created for myself.

"It also gave me the strategies and coping mechanisms to be able to implement change.

"Although it was probably one of the hardest times, it was an experience that I learned the most from, to hold me in good stead to where I am today as a person and it's definitely helped me evolve and change into a better person."

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Moving to Newcastle was a big step for Kenny-Dowall.

It was a time to refresh goals.

He wanted to be part of the evolution of the Knights and the vision of a successful Club in the making.

"The Club really had a clear vision of how they wanted to be in a couple of years and I saw it as a great opportunity to be a part of, and to test myself as a senior player to try and make this back end of my career as successful as possible," he commented.

As he embarks on the back end of his career, Kenny-Dowall is also looking at life after football.

He wants to use his experiences in life to help and guide others.



Kenny-Dowall is undertaking private study in psychology, behaviour change and wellness management.

"That's really opened my eyes and through my own experiences helping other people is something I am passionate," he said.

"I feel like I have experienced enough in my life, and I feel that I'll be really good in that area and it's something that I really want to pursue post football."

At the Knights, there's a strong mental health culture.

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It's a big focus of the current leadership group and for Kenny-Dowall the perfect setting to ensure that if anyone needs help, it's there at hand.

"Detecting the early signs if someone is doing it tough or even being able to be approached, being able to give that communication and openly giving them advice," said Kenny-Dowall.

"The Club has brought in a really good culture where we all want to be approachable and all want to talk about those things openly and help each other out in a positive manner, so I think everyone is doing a great job at that.

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"In the leadership group those are the things we talk about, we get together and go over the group as a whole and make sure there is no one that we're worried about or just do a general check in of the whole Club, that includes staff and players and everyone."

Kenny-Dowall believes building a family culture is of the upmost importance.

"It's more than just a rugby league team, it is a family and we do generally care for each other off the field, and we have all the families in and around training and that's really important to have that environment and culture at the Club."