Amidst the Origin frenzy, the 2017 Telstra NRL Premiership competition soldiers on, but it will do so without veteran Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
He has been released by the Roosters from the remainder of his contract, a move that is effective immediately. He was stood down by the club last month for his possible connection to an incident where he was allegedly found in possession of cocaine at a Sydney nightclub.
Kenny-Dowall has been with the club for 13 years, but that did not prevent the Roosters from showing him the door, even though the New Zealand international has 224 matches for the Tricolurs since he first arrived in the NRL in 2007.
He has scored 121 tries for the Roosters, which is second only to former teammate Anthony Minichiello. He played on grand final sides in 2010 and 2013.
At 29 years of age, his career would have to be viewed as winding down, but he potentially had another couple of seasons on his clock.
Kenny-Dowall’s departure is the second in two weeks, as the Roosters also released Paul Carter.
At this rate, they will be scouring the boonies to field a side, but they have been impressive this season and currently occupy the second rung on the 16-rung NRL ladder. Their 20 premiership points are tied with the Cronulla Sharks and trails the Melbourne Storm’s 24 points.
Jarrod Wallace, on the other hand, will make his debut for the Maroons when State of Origin II jumps on June 21. He was cleared of a shoulder charge by the NRL judiciary over a hit on New Zealand Warriors centre Blake Ayshford. If he had been found guilty, Wallace would have received a two-match ban.
Wallace’s lawyer Steven Johnson was successful that the contact had been initiated by Ayshford.
The NRL has charged five players with the shoulder charge offence this season and four of those players have escaped discipline.