Knights run may earn World Cup nod: SKD

World Cup selection was the last thing on New Zealand veteran Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s mind not so long ago.

Released by the Sydney Roosters in June over a much publicised drug possession arrest, Kenny-Dowall, 29, didn’t expect to be turning the Kiwi selectors’ heads after snapping up an NRL lifeline from dead last Newcastle.

But the 21-Test flyer says the Knights’ unexpected hot streak may just earn him a spot in New Zealand’s end of year World Cup campaign.

Ex-Rooster Kenny-Dowall has chimed into Newcastle’s surprise run of three-straight wins, including a 29-10 upset at Parramatta last round.

He hopes an extended giant killing run by Newcastle will help his name linger with Kiwi selectors for World Cup duty well after the NRL regular season.

“I hope so. If you are a Kiwi you want to play for New Zealand,” said Kenny-Dowall, who has scored two tries in his three games since arriving from the Roosters.

“I will continue to do my job at the Knights and hopefully we put in a couple more good performances and a couple of more wins.”

That will be easier said than done against their next opponent on Saturday in Newcastle – title favourites Melbourne.

The Storm can wrap up the minor premiership with their 21st win in their past 28 meetings with the Knights.

Melbourne thrashed Newcastle 40-12 in their last clash in round 13 – their biggest win over the Knights in six years.

But Kenny-Dowall said a Knights side still buzzing from their last round upset over the Eels looked forward to testing themselves against the NRL yardstick.

“That was right up there. It was close to a complete 80 minute performance,” said Kenny-Dowall of defeating Parramatta.

“The boys were in complete control for a large part of the game, it was pleasing to see.

“Melbourne are on top of the ladder but if we apply ourselves we will be competitive.”

Winger Kenny-Dowall believed he was building toward peak form ahead of the World Cup after niggling hamstring issues.

He will line up against Josh Addo-Carr hoping to extend his scoring run of four tries in his last three games against Melbourne.

“I think I am getting there slowly,” said Kenny-Dowall.

“I had a couple of minor tears in my hamstring so the performance staff have been really good at looking after me and I’m definitely feeling comfortable out there.”

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