Walsh debunks the rigmarole of kicking for goal

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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    The departure of Dan Carter leaves a goal kicking gap for the All Blacks. (AAP Image/Photosport, Andrew Cornaga)

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    Wowsers. What a collector’s item of sparkling goal kicking from Luke Walsh on Saturday night!

    The Penrith halfback’s spotless 11 from 11 was a magnificent showcase of accuracy from sideline to sideline, not to mention a perfect accompaniment to the razzle dazzle being served up by the Panthers on the CUA turf against a porous Warriors defence.

    But it wasn’t just the results of the metronomic slipper show that knocked my socks off. In my eyes, there was something else that stood out from Walsh’s marksman masterclass.

    The whole thing packed minimal histrionics.

    With every raise of the touchies’ flags, it affirmed the fact that there is still a place in the game for a dull, dime-a-dozen kicking action.

    In recent times, boring and undistinguished routines have been under attack by a wave of alternative converters and their intricately detailed approaches.

    So why is the ‘Goalkicking for Dummies’ manual slowly becoming eroded as a reading choice by the sharpshooters across all codes?

    Up until recently, capably kicking a dead ball used to be so simple.

    Settle down, wipe away some sweat, secure your mouthguard in some disgusting pocket of your body, take some right-angled steps and slot the thing through to papa.

    Too easy!

    But somewhere along the timeline of kicking history, theatrics and contortions became de rigeur. Just punching the footy over and/or through a set of poles is no longer enough.

    Nowadays, you need an abstract statue pose followed by an audition for the Bolshoi Ballet to be in the running for kicking tee duties.

    Cast your mind back.

    Remember the uproar when ‘around the corner’ kicking first came in to the codes? Traditionalists of the toe poke lost their shizen at the time at what was considered a totally ludicrous newfangled method!

    Then fast forward to the emergence of Ian ‘Chook’ Herron.

    This wacky winger was considered a rugby league outcast with his blend of neck twisting and hot-stepping. Nobody imagined that things were going to get any weirder than him.

    But no!

    Cue Jonny Wilkinson in the heavenly game with the first of the stone sculptured poses, and then the nutcase workings of Mark Riddell, who seemed to be placing some kind of mid-air blessing on the Steeden just before he gave it the boot.

    This lead to the current golden era we find ourselves in.

    There’s one of modern footy’s most bizarre and long-winded routines with Jamie Soward’s version of a sedated soldier whose compass is playing up, which is complimented by Quade Cooper’s regular reminder that his favourite comic hero is Superman.

    James O’Connor jumped on board for a while with his own zany stylings before coming to his senses when he realised the robot dance went out of fashion for a reason.

    Don’t forgot those who appear to be experiencing debilitating stomach cramps while they carefully hold a fragile baby chicken in cupped hands, that being Adam Reynolds, Berrick Barnes and Jarrod Croker.

    And the insanity isn’t just confined to the rugby codes either.

    What about in the AFL?

    There are extra trimmings on the usual stale bread and butter provided by West Coast’s Josh Kennedy and St Kilda’s Ahmed Saad.

    Kennedy’s attention-seeking feet take over the whole show and regale the crowd with their version of the stutter rap, while Saad somehow incorporates a lazy Sunday arvo stroll that seemingly stretches from Coogee to East Perth.

    There’s no doubt about it. The modern kicking culture has evolved in to something weirder than that slouching windmill dance your uncle does at family functions.

    Does anybody have an intelligent explanation for this?

    I’m sure many would say that it’s another sign that the psychological aspect of professional sport is becoming further prevalent, and fair enough. But could it be more than this?

    Are managers and marketers encouraging their charges to build a brand through individuality? Is it time wasting? Or loss of bets with long-term consequences?

    Or are footy players convinced that pretending to pray in a state of semi-constipation is genuinely effective when piloting a leather pillow on a beeline?

    Whatever the reason, long may it continue.

    I acknowledge the successes of guys like Walsh and their staple routines. Good luck to them all.

    But there’s no doubt there is something entertaining about watching athletes blindly devote to their boot-scooting security blankets.

    For some kickers, it seems keeping it straight relies on being slightly twisted.

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • May 20th 2013 @ 8:43am
      Monners said | May 20th 2013 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      It’s hard to say really. Mark Riddell said he needed to extend his left arm as he was overbalancing on the right in his action. Fair enough.

      But can someone please explain to me Christian Inu’s cheesy grin? Quite obviously marketing/branding there and Channel 9 ate it up by zooming the camera right in every time. Then if that wasn’t enough he added painted fangs to his mouth guard. Kudos to him and his manager though.

      Jamie Soward cracks me up though. Steps out his approach with accuracy then proceeds to bounce around “Bolshoi Ballet” style meaning stepping out the approach was all for naught.

      • May 20th 2013 @ 9:42am
        Chui said | May 20th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Inu was coached to go “to a happy place” when he kicked to help him relax.

        As for Soward. I just wish HG and Roy still commentated. They would have done well with that one.

        Spinning date, spinning date, prancing pony, hello boys…..I’m home.

        • May 20th 2013 @ 11:21pm
          Dr NRL said | May 20th 2013 @ 11:21pm | ! Report

          Maybe Inu was trying to send Inglis to that happy place 6wks ago, and nobody appreciated his selfless gesture …

      • Columnist

        May 20th 2013 @ 2:14pm
        Dane Eldridge said | May 20th 2013 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

        Inu… of course! And my thoughts exactly regarding his approach. I can understand some twinkle-toeing being effective pre-kick, but beaming warmth?

        Not a standard method for coercing a ball over the crossbar.

      • May 20th 2013 @ 2:14pm
        Haz said | May 20th 2013 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

        The painted fangs are a straight-up rip-off of Wolfman’s mouthguard, which is freakin’ hilarious.

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2013 @ 7:01pm
        SuperEel22 said | May 20th 2013 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

        I actually asked Inu about it when he was at Parramatta. He said it’s a reaction to the crowd behind him. If someone’s giving him crap when he’s lining up a kick that’s how he deals with it. And if he’s got supporters behind him he feeds off it.

    • May 20th 2013 @ 9:40am
      kiwiinoz said | May 20th 2013 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      Bring back the kicking duels………can anyone remember them??

      • May 20th 2013 @ 10:24am
        solly said | May 20th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        Yep!

      • May 20th 2013 @ 11:22am
        Jake said | May 20th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

        What were the kicking duels?

        • May 20th 2013 @ 12:38pm
          Paul said | May 20th 2013 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

          – the last kicking duel in Origin!

          • May 20th 2013 @ 1:51pm
            solly said | May 20th 2013 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

            NSW won that one!

            • May 20th 2013 @ 2:27pm
              Paul said | May 20th 2013 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              Not surprising, Dale Shearer clearly wasn’t too bright in the thinking department if he thought he was ever going to win taking on Stuart and Daley.

              • Roar Guru

                May 20th 2013 @ 9:12pm
                Bazzio said | May 20th 2013 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

                Well, he did play for Manly. And Queensland.

          • Roar Guru

            May 20th 2013 @ 5:10pm
            Elijah Weightman said | May 20th 2013 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

            Quite funny to see a kicking duel in Rugby League. It would be quite interesting if they returned. The final scoreline for that game was pretty unusual as well.

          • May 21st 2013 @ 1:28am
            Felix said | May 21st 2013 @ 1:28am | ! Report

            Great posting! That takes me back – have a look at the kicks from Shearer then ET’s return, pretty massive kicks! Those old balls used to sail when you got hold of them, or make your feet bleed as a young tacker! Again thanks a bunch for dragging that up, would love to see fullbacks learn the art again. GI might struggle…

      • Columnist

        May 20th 2013 @ 2:15pm
        Dane Eldridge said | May 20th 2013 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

        I’m tearing up with the nostalgia

    • May 20th 2013 @ 3:04pm
      Bunyip (the other one) said | May 20th 2013 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

      that kicking dual was awesome! Aahh the memories!

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