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Kenny-Dowall savours great career milestone after surviving Warriors snub

Knights starShaun Kenny-Dowall doesn’t remember the name. Just the words.
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“We don’t think you are among the top 100 wingers going around so we are terminating you.”

They came from a New Zealand Warriors official toa 15-year-old Kenny-Dowall, who at the time, was chasing his NRL dream and making a three hour round trip twice a week to train in Auckland with the club.

The day after the devastating snub,he quit school and started saving up to move to Australia.

Now, remarkably, the player who finished second to Benji Marshall in the 2010 Golden Boot award and played 75 minutes with a broken jaw in the Sydney Roosters’ 2013 grandfinal triumph over Manly, runs out for NRL game number 250 when the Knights meet Wests Tigers on Friday night.

We can only wonder if a certain anonymous Warriors official will be watching.

Asked about the career milestone on the eve of the Tigers clash at McDonald Jones Stadium, Kenny-Dowall 30, said:

“There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice and plenty of highs and lows as well. I feel a great sense of achievement having made it this far.

How good: Knights winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall is over the moon after scoring the match-winning try against the Gold Coast a fortnight ago at McDonald Jones Stadium.

“I’ve been very blessed to play 250 games and I’m still going so very happy.

“It’s been quite a journey and I’m really looking forward to getting out there on Friday night.”

After 11 seasons and 224 NRL games with the Roosters, Kenny-Dowall says the change of clubs last season has reinvigorated his career.

“It’s been a great move for myself. I really love this place,” he said.

“It’s a different drive and a different environment. Newcastle is a building club but it’s a very proud club and I’ve worked out living here how much it means to the town and the fans and I’ll wear that jersey with pride every time I wear it.”

Ironically, the last time these two sides met, the Knights winger was the hero, scoring the match-winning try in the final minute off a Jamie Buhrer cross-kick at Tamworth’s Scully Park.

READ MORE: Newcastle KnightsThe Tigers, spearheaded by veterans Marshall and Robbie Farah and the power of their props Ben Matulino and Russell Packer,will be looking for some payback as both sides attempt to keep their slim play-off hopes alive.

The Knights suffered a major blow on Thursdaywith five-eighth Connor Watson ruled out for a second straight week with a groin injury. Jack Cogger will deputise again.

Fullback Kalyn Ponga did not train with the rest of the squad duringthe captain’s run with his ankle still causing concern but is still rated a chance of playing.

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