Now before you call me stupid, hear me out on this one.
We’re blessed to follow a sport eclipsed in nail biters, games more often than not going down to the wire, only decided by a few points. Which means in today’s day and age, goal kicking can be the difference between winning the competition and finishing in 9th spot.
Look at Cronulla in 2019 - they lost three consecutive games where they scored more tries than their opposition. THREE. Purely down to some shocking form off the boot from Shaun Johnson, Chad Townsend and Kyle Flanagan. They were one loss away from missing the finals.
Had they kicked all their goals during those three games, it would’ve meant they finished the season on 32 points. One of those games was against the Raiders, who finished on 32 competition points and in 4th place. Had Cronulla kicked their goals, Canberra would’ve finished on 30 career points and the Sharks would’ve made the top four on 32 points, and two bites at the cherry in September.
Instead, they were eliminated first week of the finals by Manly.
What I’m getting at is goal kicking is integral. And if you’ve got a good goal kicker in your side, it should be utilised, but what if you’ve got multiple?
South Sydney look all but certain to pick up Latrell Mitchell in the coming days.
While Latrell was the top point scorer for the NRL in 2019, Adam Reynolds is one of the competitions biggest sharp shooters off the kicking tee, slotting goals at just over 82% across his career.
Mitchell is lower off percentage wise, knocking them over at 74% across his four seasons in the NRL.
Now it’s important to remember - Adam Reynolds is right footed, Latrell slots them with his left.
Obviously, it’s a lot easier for a right footed kicker to nail goals from the left hand side of the field than it is the right, purely off the angle. And vice versa for left footed kickers preferring to kick from the right side of the field.
Between Latrell and Daniel Tupou, the duo scored 34 tries on the left edge for the Roosters, which for a left footed kicker, is as tough as it gets, hence the 74%.
So if South Sydney have two of the best goal kickers in the league, why not utilise both?
South Sydney could and should become the first side in the competition to utilise two goal kickers.
If a try is scored down the left edge, hand the tee over to Adam Reynolds, or if James Roberts manages to plant the ball down just inside the right hand touch line, then chuck the tee over to Latrell.
It eliminates the ‘tough angles’ for both kickers, and hands the Rabbitohs an immense advantage heading into the 2020 season.
It might sound absurd, you may call me stupid, but it would dramatically improve South Sydney’s already high goal kicking percentage, and mean they win more close games than they lose.
And don’t get me started on Origin pressure kicker, Ethan Lowe.