PARTY’S OVER: The Knights have put on hold contract talks with Shaun Kenny-Dowall after the Roosters centre was busted with cocaine at a Sydney nightclub. Picture: Getty Images.NEWCASTLE Knights have gone cold on Shaun Kenny-Dowall after the Roosters centre was allegedlybusted with cocaine in a Sydney nightclub.
Police said Kenny-Dowall was allegedly caught in possession of 0.46 grams of cocaine when the 29-year-old was searchedat The Ivy nightclub at 1am on Friday.
The New Zealand international was issued afield court attendance notice for possessing aprohibited drug and is due to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on June 21.
Off contract with the Roosters at the end of this season,Kenny-Dowall hadbeen in discussions with the Knightsand met with coach Nathan Brown at a restaurant in The Junction last month.
The Knights were yet to extend a formal offer to the backline utility but were understood to be only days away from tabling a three-year proposal.
However, the NewcastleHerald has learned thatnegotiations have been put on hold until the drug matter is finalised in court.
It is unlikely they will pursue the flyer unless fully cleared.
Kenny-Dowall previously faced domestic violence allegations during his 2015 season, but was fully acquitted of all charges.
“We havealready gone through enough pain,” a club insidersaid on the decision to halt talks.
Kenny-Dowall had ticked a lot of boxes for the Knights.A premiership-winner and veteran of 224 NRL games, he can play a number of positions in the backline and boasts a big frame.
He has won a Four Nations titlewith New Zealand and, although overlooked for the ANZAC Test against the Kangaroos on Friday night, has 20 caps.
The Kenny-Dowall drug scandal continues a troubled run for the Knights in relation to recruitment targets.
The club was preparing a three-year $2.7 million offer for Queensland Origin and Test starMatt Scott when the Cowboys prop ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
“We thought he’d be the perfect leader for our younger players coming through,” Brown said at the time.
Scott subsequently resigned with the Cowboys.
The Knights were also in the box seat for the signature of Jack Bird before the Brisbane Broncos came from left field to sign the Cronulla match-winner.
Canterbury captain and England firebrandJames Graham is now at the top of their shopping list.
Confirmation on Wednesday of a four-year suspension for Jarrod Mullen for a doping violation has freed up more space in the salary cap.The Knights are looking for reinforcements but Brown said thisweek that he wasnot overly confident of bolstering the roster before the June 30 deadline.
Mullen, who wasfound guilty of taking the banned steroid Drostanolone by the NRL’s anti-doping body, hasbeen paid about half of his $750,000 salary for this season.
Knights captain Trent Hodkinson spoke to a“shattered”Mullen on Thursday.
“I saw him yesterday and he’s obviously disappointed with the outcome,” Hodkinson said on radio station2KO.“He was hoping for the two years but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”