Shaun Kenny-Dowall celebrates after playing 65 minutes with a broken jaw. Photo: Brendan Esposito Shane Webcke won the 2000 decider wearing a cast to protect a broken arm. Photo: Craig Golding
Andrew Johns played with a punctured lung in Newcastle’s 1997 victory. Photo: Newcastle Herald
After playing in the grand final for more than 65 minutes with a broken jaw, Shaun Kenny-Dowall put his surgery on hold to celebrate his premiership success with his teammates.
Scans confirmed Kenny-Dowall had played the bulk of the grand final against Manly with a broken jaw, ending the Kiwi centre’s hopes of a call-up to the New Zealand World Cup squad.
The bravery has been compared to that shown by John Sattler, who famously played most of the 1970 grand final with a battered jaw as he led South Sydney to premiership glory against Manly.
Kenny-Dowall lost a tooth somewhere on the ANZ Stadium turf, and believed the incident happened five minutes into the epic encounter. Despite the pain, he played on, refusing to tell the club’s medical staff of his injury, including the Roosters’ long-term medico John Orchard.
“He didn’t want to give any of us the chance to keep him from the field,” Orchard said. “The first we knew about it was after the game, and he came up and said he thought he might have broken his jaw.
“In round six, you’d probably get the injury and you’d let the trainer know. But in a grand final you go the other way and think that I need to be out there and the injury doesn’t exist. It was very impressive effort.”
Orchard described the surgery as “precautionary” but the hairline fracture will keep Kenny-Dowall out of action for about six weeks, ruling him out of the World Cup.
Kenny-Dowall, who brushed the pain aside to score a second-half try to snatch back the lead, was in good spirits despite being a late arrival to the team’s annual mad Monday celebrations at the Bellevue Hotel, Woollahra.
“It’s all right, it’s a bit swollen,” Kenny-Dowall said of his jaw. “It’s not too bad but it’s swollen [I haven’t had] much sleep. [Monday is about] having a good time and enjoying the boys company.”
Orchard compared Kenny-Dowall’s courage to that of former Roosters utility Chris Flannery, who played in the 2004 decider six days after having surgery to repair a ruptured testicle.
Kenny-Dowall also received praise from Sattler, who described the Kiwi’s efforts as “brave”. Sattler was part of the ANZ Stadium crowd, but like most people at the venue, didn’t realise the discomfort Kenny-Dowall was in.
“It was brave of him to play on with it,” Sattler said. “He is a good player, a hard, tough player. I don’t remember [breaking my] bloody jaw. I knew it was in a mess and bleeding like a mongrel and it probably wasn’t as painful as people imagined because you were hot and running on adrenaline.
“It was very uncomfortable. When it fell apart on me I would put it back into my mouth guard and just jammed my mouthguard on it and that would go good until you lost concentration and forget about it and then it would wobble and fall out again. Stupidity and being geed up for the game gets you through the pain.”
Roosters prop Luke O’Donnell tore his hamstring again as he completed his desired 30-minute stint on Sunday.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.