Sydney Roosters winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall has been ruled out of Sunday’s clash with Newcastle as he continues to deal with his allegations of domestic violence levelled against him by his former girlfriend.
The 27-year-old was named to return to the NRL for the first time since being arrested and charged on July 18 but after pleading not guilty to 11 charges in court on Thursday, asked coach Trent Robinson for another week off.
Youngster Brendan Elliot is expected to be drafted in.
“It was his decision along with us, but it was his decision that he probably needed a little bit more time to get ready to play,” Robinson said on Saturday.
“It’s been a big week for him in dealing with the court on Thursday, so he’ll need a little bit more time to get ready to play and allow the boys that have been doing the job to continue doing that this week.”
The New Zealand international was admitted to hospital two weeks ago due to concerns over his mental health but Robinson said he had been in good spirits since returning to training last Monday.
“It’s been getting back to normality for him, which is important here, the routine of training,” he said.
“But it’s been a tough time for a lot of people and he doesn’t need the game on Sunday to add to that.”
The third-placed Roosters will be expected to easily account for the last-placed Knights, however Robinson said he expected Newcastle to be emotionally charged for club legend Danny Buderus’ first home game as interim coach.
“Knowing Danny fairly well, I know what Danny will want to prepare them like. I know there’s going to be some intensity in their play,” Robinson said.
The Knights have been dealt a blow with forward David Fa’alogo announcing his immediate retirement on Saturday after failing to overcome a neck injury that now requires career-ending surgery.
The former South Sydney forward fell two games short of reaching the 200-game milestone.
“Retirement has come earlier than expected,” he said.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 12-and-a-half-year footy career, the highs and lows.
“I have been very fortunate as rugby league has given me so much.”
Joe Tapine is expected to be called into the side.
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Roosters are the only team not to have lost by double figures this season, with all six losses by eight points or less.
* Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has currently run for 3999 metres this season, over 1000 more than the next best in Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich.
* The Knights have won just two matches since round 5, with nine of those losses coming by 13 points or more