McDonnell happy with mid-season move - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McDonnell happy with mid-season move

By Todd Balym 10/09/2009 12:29:23 PM Comments (0)

If Newcastle winger Shannon McDonnell didn't make a tough decision back in May he would probably still be nursing a Mad Monday hangover instead of preparing for his NRL finals debut.

The Knights 22-year-old quit the Wests Tigers after round eight this year to accept a one-year deal to join Newcastle as cover for fullback Kurt Gidley.

Four months later McDonnell is playing on the wing outside Adam MacDougall for the Knights and getting ready to face the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, while his former Tigers teammates are cursing a fourth straight year of missing the NRL finals.

"I couldn't have asked for a better way for it to pan out," he said.

"I feel like I'm playing the way I always used to play and am enjoying my football.

"At the time I felt I wasn't going anywhere with the Tigers ... things just weren't happening for me the way I wanted them to.

"It happened very quick and I think that was the best way for it to happen so I didn't sit around and sort of have to think about it.

"I was at training the next day and that was the best way for it to happen."

Mid-season changes have become more regular in recent seasons and they almost always end happily for the players involved.

Clint Newton left the Knights for Melbourne in 2007 and won a premiership ring.

Brett Finch departed Parramatta for the Storm this year and is readying himself for the finals, so too Greg Eastwood who was headed to the UK until visa troubles forced him to join title contenders the Bulldogs.

But the decision was tougher for McDonnell, he wasn't only leaving his club of five years but his father Warren McDonnell was the Tigers recruitment officer.

However, it was advice from his dad that convinced McDonnell to move to Newcastle.

"I was very hesitant and didn't see myself changing clubs, I've never done it," he said.

"But my old man was saying look at all the players that have benefited from it and their careers have kicked on from changing clubs.

"It's pretty much a normal thing these days. I definitely have benefited from it.

"At the end of the day he is my dad and nothing more. He wanted what was best for me and what I wanted."

Now McDonnell faces the biggest test in the NRL, stopping the game's most damaging outside pairing of Bryson Goodwin and Josh Morris.

The Bulldogs duo have scored a combined 39 tries in 2009, but McDonnell is confident he and MacDougall can silence them the way they did Penrith's Michael Jennings last week.

"Me and Dougs will sit down and work out what we have to do in defence," he said.

"He has been good for me. Just the experience of having him on the inside and just how calm he is.

"To play outside him is good and there's never a dull moment."

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