Kenny deserves his success, says Webcke - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kenny deserves his success, says Webcke

By Wayne Heming 23/09/2009 02:33:34 PM Comments (0)

Once the world's best prop, Broncos great Shane Webcke appreciates Nick Kenny's emergence as an NRL front row force more than most.

Kenny has been a powerful performer in Brisbane's late season surge which has carried them into Saturday's preliminary final against Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

The unassuming 27-year-old has stepped up as a senior prop in the mould of predecessors Webcke and Petero Civoniceva, taking on the hit ups and dishing out the hits with similar courage and passion.

And the sort of form which saw him take the honours from St George Illawarra's Origin duo Justin Poore and Michael Weyman last Saturday has prompted suggestions he could be a bolter for Australia's Four Nations touring squad next month.

But it wasn't always obvious the sometimes self-doubting Kenny could make the step up.

Webcke helped to mentor both Kenny and fellow 2009 front row star Dave Taylor up to his retirement in 2006.

He knew both had what it took, Kenny because of his hard work and commitment and Taylor because of his great array of skills.

Webcke has enjoyed watching them both take big career strides this year, Kenny in amore traditional role and Taylor showcasing his natural talents out wide in the Broncos' seven game streak.

It's fair to say Webcke sees a lot more of his own game in Kenny than the free-running Taylor.

"Nick has built himself into is a player who is integral to that team and that's no mean feat," said Webcke.

"When he was a young player coming through, I don't know that it was all that evident it was going to happen for him.

"I think he lacked a little bit of confidence.

"It's not being unkind to say that Nick Kenny, like myself, does not possess a huge array of talent.

"Nick is no Dave Taylor in terms of his natural ability but he's learning to play to his strengths and to perform at a level where his coach knows what he is going to get out of him every week.

"I'm not being critical of him, because that's a very high level.

"But you're not going to ask Nick to run angles and lines outside his five-eighth.

"He could do it once or twice if he had to but he's no Dave Taylor and he doesn't try to be.

"He's rolled his sleeves up and made the middle of the ruck somewhere where he resides and does the hard work.

"He does the hard, tough runs and that's where he is making his mark and he's got a big hit in him.

"Too much of front-row play today is getting robotic. I don't think we see enough of the big, bash and barge collisions and that's what I think a front-rower's role should be."

Webcke admitted Kenny probably needed another big NRL season to command Australian team selection.

"I'm not just saying that about Nick Kenny, I would say it about anyone, it's got to be earned and earned well," said Webcke, who apart from winning four grand finals, one with a broken arm, played 20 Tests for Australia and was rated the world's best prop.

"It's the highest honour and it should never be cheapened by premature selection."

For his part, Kenny is just revelling in finals football.

"The intensity goes up, the crowds are bigger and there's so much more on the line, it's do-or-die," said Kenny. "That's what you play footy for."

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