Kenny-Dowall says the bad times will pass
Shaun Kenny-Dowall isn't enjoying his recent flurry of fumbles but the Newcastle winger is determined to work his way out of it.
"That's the way it's going at the moment," he told NRL.com when asked if he was trying too hard.
"It's not nerves or anything like that, it's just lapses of concentration. It's hurting my game a little bit."
Before a full house in Tamworth in round seven, Kenny-Dowall dropped a Benji Marshall bomb cold but made up for it by scoring the winning try against Wests Tigers off a Jamie Buhrer kick.
Two weeks earlier Kenny-Dowall missed a catch completely from a Brisbane kick-off.
Last weekend against Manly when scores were locked 12-12 he dropped the ball in the 71st minute handing the scrum to the Sea Eagles 20 metres out and right in front of the posts. Thankfully Kalyn Ponga set up Nathan Ross for a 75th-minute try which handed the Knights victory.
Kenny-Dowall, who scored six tries in 15 games last year, has the grand total of one from eight games this Telstra Premiership season.
Now while Ponga has the same try stats, the former North Queensland Cowboy has five line breaks and eight try assists. Kenny-Dowall has zero and zero.
"I'm not frustrated by it because I'm still able to do plenty of good things. So I'm concentrating on that," said Kenny-Dowall, whose defence has been good averaging only one missed tackle a game.
"There are areas I want to be better at and if I do, I'm sure those errors will get out of my game."
As for crossing the white line, the man who scored nine tries in 21 games for New Zealand and 125 in 237 NRL matches, knows if he's not registering as many four-pointers as he'd like then other Knights are making up for that.
"When you've got KP [Ponga] down on that left side scoring left, right and centre, that's where the flow of our attack is going at the moment," Kenny-Dowall said.
"I just sit back in enjoy it.
"Mate he is unbelievable," he said, which is high praise from someone who worked alongside both Anthony Minichiello and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at the Roosters.
"And he is 19 years of age and coming up with big plays at the right time.
"He's mature beyond his years and it's so good to see him coming of age. He can set up and score as many tries as he wants – keep going for it."
Kenny-Dowall's value at the Knights can't be measured in stats alone. But the 30-year-old international's experience is exactly what coach Nathan Brown wants to tap into to help grow his young team's maturity.
That's why he bought players like Kenny-Dowall, Aidan Guerra, Jacob Lillyman, Chris Heighington and Michell Pearce to the Hunter.
Pearce is now gone for three months but due to the knowledge players like Kenny-Dowall have imparted, the Knights did not tumble like a house of cards against the Sea Eagles without their star halfback.
"That's the most pleasing thing. In the past when adversity comes to us the boys have struggled to find a way to win," Kenny-Dowall said.
"That's something that we've been driving at this club since the start of the year. So it's really pleasing to see that without Mitchell, that the values and ways to win we're trying to ingrain in the younger boys is paying dividends.
"Now we're finding a way to win."