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Kenny-Dowall backs ‘alpha male’ Waerea-Hargreaves to make Hull KR impact

Shaun Kenny-Dowall has backed Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to make a big impact both on and off the field for Hull KR when he joins for the 2025 Betfred Super League season.

The New Zealand international prop has agreed a one-year deal with the Robins and will bring a 14-year stay with Sydney Roosters to an end following the conclusion of the 2024 NRL season.

Fellow former Kiwi Kenny-Dowall, now an assistant coach at Hull KR, knows what the three-time NRL Grand Final winner will bring as a player, and expects Waerea-Hargreaves to add to the squad in terms of his personality and leadership skills too.

“He’s definitely a presence, he’s a natural-born leader of men,” Kenny-Dowall, who played alongside Waerea-Hargreaves for both New Zealand and the Roosters, told The Bench podcast.

“He’s the alpha male of the pack and for our younger boys to look across the changing room and see someone of Jared’s stature is going to be special for this place.

“Off the field, he’s also a great guy and brings people together. All round, he’s going to be great for the culture of the club and what he can do on the field is pretty special as well.

“We’re buzzing over here, it’s very exciting. To have someone of his calibre and such a close friend of mine to be able to come to a place like the Robins is exciting for everyone involved.”

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Hull KR coach Shaun Kenny-Dowall describes Jared Waerea-Hargreaves as ‘a natural-born leader of men’ while speaking on The Bench with Jenna and Jon

Kenny-Dowall has stayed in touch with Waerea-Hargreaves since joining Hull KR for the 2020 Super League season and it was his influence which led to the prop deciding to agree a switch to East Hull for next year.

The pair met up in Paris late last year where their conversations set the ball rolling, with Robins head coach Willie Peters being a long-time admirer of the 35-year-old’s ability as well.

“We played long periods of our career together and we’ve stayed in contact, and we were able to have a catch-up and a few beers,” Kenny-Dowall said.

“We knew Willie was a massive admirer of Jared for a long time and always asked ‘can you get him over or what?’ I told him in Paris and I think he really enjoyed it and was looking for an opportunity to ply his trade over here.

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Hull KR coach Shaun Kenny-Dowall says the club are desperate to improve on their results from last season and that head coach Willie Peters is helping to drive improved standards

“One thing led to another, and he signed on the dotted line, and I think it was a pretty quick process. I think he’s really excited at trying his hand at Super League, it’s something he’s always wanted to do, and it’s happened so quick it’s amazing.”

Having reached the Betfred Challenge Cup final and Super League play-off semi-finals in 2023, Hull KR are currently fifth in the early-season standings with three wins and two defeats from their first five games.

Kenny-Dowall hung up his boots at the end of last season after 93 appearances in four seasons for the Robins and is now enjoying life on the coaching staff under Peters.

“It’s been awesome,” Kenny-Dowall said. “I was very happy with my decision and content.

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Shaun Kenny-Dowall gave some entertaining answers when faced with quickfire questions on The Bench with Jenna and Jon

“I got to a point in my career where I was ready for the next thing in my life, and I was very grateful for the club to give me that opportunity to transition and go onto coaching. It’s something I’m really enjoying, I’m learning a lot, and I’m grateful to be able to make that step at the club.

“I just love what Willie is creating too. He’s such a good coach and he’s really passionate.”

Listen to The Bench every week throughout the 2024 Betfred Super League season. Watch every match of the Super League season, including the men’s, women’s, and wheelchair Grand Finals, live on Sky Sports. Also stream with NOW.

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