Kenny-Dowall deserves Hull KR captaincy says coach

HULL KR coach Tony Smith has handed the captaincy to experienced Kiwi back Shaun Kenny-Dowall (pictured) and made forward Elliot Minchella his deputy.

Both joined Rovers before last season (from Newcastle Knights and Bradford respectively) and played regularly.

Kenny-Dowall, 33, who has made 21 appearances for New Zealand and also played for Sydney Roosters, took up the leadership role in the absence of Mose Masoe and Weller Hauraki.

Minchella, 25, started his career at Leeds and has also played for Sheffield.

Smith said: “Shaun is a pretty obvious choice with the way he leads us and the respect he earned from all of us throughout the whole club.

“That’s not just about what he’s done prior in his career and even last year, it’s just the manner in which he conducts and applies himself, along with the amount of effort that he puts in.

“By his own admittance, he would have like to have played better last year, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort.

“I’ve had good conversations with him about it. Often overseas players struggle in their first year and don’t hit the heights that they would like to or have before. They often settle into that second season and become more solid.

“He is the right person to be our leader and he was happy to put his hand up and accept that, and he is very honoured”.

“Elliot has accepted our offer to be vice-captain and we are delighted. It’s a reward for how he has approached his time here.

“He’s a big part of developing young people and young men. We don’t see it as just a case of the older players being captains.

“I think young people could be great leaders, it isn’t just down to experience, it’s down to how you handle yourself and how you can encourage each other to become better – he certainly leads the way in that respect.

“The other thing that really stands out about Elliot is that he is prepared to say what he thinks.

“He’ll give an opinion and ask questions. He’s not worried about what other people might think about him asking that question or making that comment. I think that’s great leadership to the younger people behind him.”

Rovers host Castleford on Sunday in Tigers forward Adam Milner’s testimonial match.