Captain and SC Playbook contributor Jarrod Croker will again be the man for the job in the nation’s capital. Croker suffered a down year in 2019 by his lofty standards, converting at just 73%.
Expect this to lift far closer to his career success rate of 80.1% in 2020. Depth is an issue for the first time in years at Canberra. Aidan Sezer has left for the English Super League, while the arrival of George Williams will push Sam Williams back to NSW Cup to begin the season.
This means the reserve kicking duties will likely fall to Bailey Simonsson or Elliott Whitehead, but it’s a major issue if the skipper goes down.
With Rhyse Martin (Leeds) out of the picture, it’s young gun Nick Meaney who appears to have the edge over Kerrod Holland as first choice goal-kicker.
It’s always a little uncertain how the Bulldogs will line up come Round 1, but provided they’re both in the side they’ll be the number one and two options.
Meaney was the preferred choice at the back end of 2019, finishing the season with an 80% success rate. Holland will be hot on his tail with an impressive career success rate of 76/97 at 78.35%.
Don’t be fooled by a small lean run in 2019, Shaun Johnson is an astute goal-kicker. In seven seasons with the boot he’s kicked at under 73% just once, back in 2015.
He has a career success rate of 74.95%. While the numbers aren’t elite, they’re extremely solid for a bloke who has had 495 shots at goal in his career.
He’ll be the number one choice, with Chad Townsend the likely reserve having kicked at 65.75% throughout his career.
GOLD COAST TITANS
Michael Gordon’s retirement will see Tyrone Roberts assume the goal-kicking role full time. Roberts kicked at 83% last season and has converted at 74.39% across his career, with 244/328 successful attempts.
Ash Taylor will be the reserve having kicked at 68.61% in his career.
Unfortunately for SuperCoaches Manly discovered in 2019 that Reuben Garrick can and will kick a goal.
While great for Garrick’s booming price rises, it meant skipper Daly Cherry-Evans took a back seat. Garrick kicked at 76% and will most likely assume the duties in 2020. DCE converted at a seriously respectable 80% and will act as reserve kicker.
Cameron Smith is 1209/1616 at 74.81% in his career, and converted at 79.39% in 2019. The reserve kicking picture is far more uncertain.
Ryan Papenhuyzen kicked 2/3 last season and was preferred to Cameron Munster on those occasions. Munster has kicked at a fairly underwhelming 55.17% throughout his career.
This would suggest The Pap would be the man to replace an absent Smith with Brodie Croft now in Brisbane, but it’s more speculative than fact at this stage due to the small sample size.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Chanel Harris-Tavita is locked in a battle with Kodi Nikorima for a halves role, but the lack of goal-kicking depth at the club may well make the decision for Stephen Kearney.
CHT converted at an impressive 82% last season and would likely be the number one option for Round 1 should he get the nod to partner Blake Green.
If he doesn’t, Patrick Herbert would likely be next in line having nailed 15/21 at 71.43% in 2019. But again, this is provided Herbert nails down a starting role.
Tohu Harris kicked 8/12 at Melbourne and may be a last gasp reserve after the aforementioned pair.
No Mason? Hello Kalyn…
The latest out of Knights HQ is that Kurt Mann is tipped to partner Mitchell Pearce in the halves with highly rated rookie Phoenix Crossland likely to miss the opening stages of the season as he recovers from injury.
This would mean Ponga should assume the full time goal-kicking role. Ponga kicked at 80% last season before Lino (84%) earned a call up and took over the duties.
Back-rower Mitch Barnett acted as reserve kicker last year and will likely do so again this season.
It’s all a bit of a mystery as to who the front-runner is to take the tee at North Queensland, but it appears Valentine Holmes and Kyle Feldt are the likely candidates.
Recruit Esan Marsters revealed in a recent interview the pair had been the primary goal-kickers during the Cowboys pre-season.
The SuperCoach ramifications will be massive.
Holmes has a career success rate of 73.91% and upped that to 75.68% in his last season before taking on an NFL venture.
Feldt is also a chance having kicked 21/33 in his career at 63.64%.
Jake Clifford would come into contention if selected in the halves, but it looks as though Scott Drinkwater will start the season at five-eighth.
Marsters has a career success rate of 71%, but kicked at just 65% in 2019, which led to his sacking as the number one kicker at the Tigers.
Holmes looks the man for the job at this stage.
Mitchell Moses has a career success rate of 75.69%, however more impressively he hasn’t kicked below 75.5% since 2016. Clint Gutherson would take over in his absence having kicked 60/85 in his career at 70.59%.
Nathan Cleary has nailed 243/285 conversions in his young career at 85.26%. Read over the other kickers in this article then let that stat sink in.
Jarome Luai would likely step up in Cleary’s absence, he kicked 8/11 in 2018. Recruit Api Koroisau is another option having kicked briefly in the past without much success.
There’s a little debate as to who takes the tee at the Rabbitohs with the arrival of Latrell Mitchell, but should there be? Adam Reynolds has a career success rate of 82.14% having converted 644/784 attempts.
While there’s no doubting Latrell’s ability with the boot, he’s kicked at 74.38% in his career, and 75.38% in 2019. Unless injury is a concern, all signs point to Reynolds.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA
Gareth Widdop’s departure opens the door for a new full time kicker at the Dragons. Jai Field, Corey Norman, Zac Lomaxand Tim Lafai all had a crack last season in Widdop’s absence through injury.
Lomax is the man expected to get the role, he kicked at 78% in 2019. Field nailed 7/7 last season but won’t start for the Red V, meaning Norman would likely be reserve kicker having hit 9/11 at 81.82% last season.
Recruit Kyle Flanagan takes the tee at the Roosters with the departure of Latrell Mitchell. He only kicked at a miserly 61% last season, but don’t be fooled, his success in the lower grades is far more impressive.
Sio Siua Taukeiaho will be reserve kicker having nailed 38/54 in his career at 70.37%. James Tedesco would be next in line, in which case he’d probably average 100+, wow.
Esan Marsters has departed and Paul Momirovski is expected to be loaned to Melbourne for hooker Harry Grant.
New recruit Adam Doueihi looks favoured to take up the vacant goal-kicking role at the club.
Stuck behind Adam Reynolds at South Sydney, Doueihi kicked 10/16 at 62.50% during his time at Redfern.
Unless Benji Marshall wanted to resurrect his kicking career, it appears as though Moses Mbye will act as reserve kicker. Mbye has kicked 111/159 at 69.81% in his career, so the goal-kicking duties may again be of major concern for the Tigers if Doueihi can’t step up.