RL’s Kenny-Dowall set to plead not guilty

Shaun Kenny-Dowall is expected to plead not guilty to a string of domestic violence charges when he faces court this week.

Kenny-Dowall didn’t play in Sydney Roosters’ 24-0 win over the Warriors at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday after being left out of the side in a move the NRL club described as a “welfare decision”.

The New Zealand international was arrested on Saturday and charged with a string of offences including the common assault and stalking of his former partner Jessica Peris.

He is due to appear at Waverley Local Court on Thursday.

Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said on Sunday he expected Kenny-Dowall to defend himself against the charges.

“We understand he will plead not guilty,” Canavan said after the Roosters’ win.

“The NRL have been supportive of that and we as a club will support that process.

“He is struggling. It is a very serious matter. He didn’t play today mainly because of a welfare issue and also a team preparation issue. He wasn’t in a position to train with the team yesterday. His own personal preparation, the team preparation and his own welfare, the decision was made this morning for him not to play.”

Canavan said Kenny-Dowall, who could return for the Roosters’ next match against Wests Tigers on Friday, should be afforded the opportunity to tell his side of the story.

“I have known him since he was 15 years of age and he deserves his opportunity to be explained and to present his side of the story,” Canavan said.

“That’s all we’re saying. We definitely don’t condone anything to do with domestic violence.”

Earlier in the day the Roosters released a statement explaining the decision to leave Kenny-Dowall out of their side to play the Warriors.

“The Sydney Roosters wish to advise that following consultation with the club’s coaching and welfare staff, it has been decided together with Shaun Kenny-Dowall, that he will not be playing this afternoon,” the statement read.

“This should not in any way be taken as an admission Shaun has done anything wrong and to do so would be incorrect.”

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