Shaun Kenny-Dowall. Photo: Brendan EspositoRoosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall picked a tough assignment when he vowed to use Sunday’s match against the Warriors to atone for what he called his most disappointing defensive effort of the year.
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Kenny-Dowall, a Kiwi international in his eighth year at the Roosters, said it was tough to watch footage of the victory over the Eels because it showed the kind of defensive lapses he’d worked hard to eliminate from his game this season.

At the beginning of the season, Kenny-Dowall said new coach Trent Robinson had demanded more defensive crunch from him. He responded and was pleased with his progress, until the Eels game. ”I’ve had my ups and downs,” Kenny-Dowall said when asked for thoughts on his defence. ”Obviously you saw on the weekend, that was probably the worst I’ve defended. It was a reality check and I have to go back to working hard and defend how I know we can and how we defended at the start of the year. [Defence is] obviously a lot of decision making … It’s not just out on the edge, it can start from out in the middle, the ruck and all sorts of things.

”They’re the sort of things we go through in the video [sessions] and try to rectify throughout the week in time for the next game.”

Kenny-Dowall said this year’s Roosters had benefited from the ”connection” between the squad’s players but he conceded the Warriors would have noted last week’s defensive deficiencies on the tricolours’ edge. While the Auckland-based club’s three-quarters possess plenty of strike power – and muscle – courtesy of Manu Vatuvei, Konrad Hurrell, Glen Fisiiahi and Dane Nielsen, Kenny-Dowall said his mission this week would be harder due to the presence of Feleti Mateo, the skilled ball-player who learnt his craft in the Parramatta juniors. ”Our defence [on the edge] was obviously noted,” he said of last week’s showing. ”We’ve been working hard on that at training and it’s something we’ll need to fix up with Feleti on that side … we’ve been working hard.”

Kenny-Dowall made it clear that apart from shutting down Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and Mateo, he and his teammates would need to stick to Vatuvei like glue. He offered 20-year-old Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, the man charged with the job of stifling the big winger, a vote of confidence. ”[Tuivasa-Sheck] has a fair idea of what’s coming up, but I think he’s more than capable,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.