Record-breaking goalkicker Mike Harris has had enough of making the headlines through his radar-boot and wants more chances to shine as the Queensland Reds’ bona-fide playmaker.
And the Kiwi recruit, now seriously in the mix for a Wallabies cap in June, hopes Super Rugby officials help by taking a stricter view on rivals illegally killing the Reds’ dangerous attack.
Harris has slotted a competition-record 24 straight goals from all his attempts in the past two seasons – with 16, including 13 penalties, coming from this year’s wins over the NSW Waratahs and Western Force.
But the former New Zealand under-20 flyhalf said he’d much rather his kicking tee stay off the ground.
“I don’t want to be seen as just a goalkicker but, if teams are going to intentionally slow our ball down, then it’s nice to be able to punish them for their sins,” he told AAP on Monday.
“It would be nice to put a few more tries on the board.”
Queensland have scored just three tries with Harris calling the shots at No.10 instead of Wallabies star Quade Cooper.
Harris has been solid rather than dazzling with the ball and both he and Reds coach Ewen McKenzie have admitted their frustrations at seeing opponents taking a negative approach against the defending champions by “cheating” at the breakdown.
Harris felt rival players would be less inclined to infringe – and concede three points – if some were sin-binned.
“It would be quite nice to see a couple of yellow cards come out early for intentional infringements,” he told AAP.
“I think some teams are intentionally causing trouble, especially out wide in the 22.
“If players started having a rest for 10 minutes then it would speed the games up and allow us to play and hopefully score more tries, which everyone wants to see.
“I’m not bagging referees but it would be good to make teams pay for what they’re trying to do.”
Recruited from North Harbour at the end of 2010, Harris is eligible for Wallabies selection due to an Australian-born grandmother and his efforts to break Morne Steyn’s 21-goal record streak put him closer to earning his international dream in June.
Test coach Robbie Deans has indicated he’ll lean heavily on the Reds and Force, who have a Super Rugby bye before the Wallabies mid-week clash with Scotland, for his opening team of the year.
Queensland have fresh injury worries for Saturday night’s home match against the Melbourne Rebels with No.8 Radike Samo (shoulder) and reserve prop Greg Holmes (back) in doubt.
Flanker Scott Higginbotham (buttock) is expected to return while hooker Saia Faingaa (ankle) is improving and in better shape than brother Anthony (hamstring).