Warriors 'biggest losers' in goal-kicking due to Shaun Johnson loss
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/110545079/-

2019-02-12 08:08:44

Shaun Johnson's goal-kicking shapes as a crippling loss for the Warriors in 2019 according to a statistical breakdown of NRL goal kickers.

The Auckland-based NRL side has been described as "the biggest losers in the goal-kicking department" following the shock loss of the star halfback to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks during the off-season.

An in-depth analysis of all 16 teams, from NRL.com, rated the Warriors as having the worst goal kicking in the competition for the upcoming season.

"The Warriors are the biggest losers in the goal-kicking department following the exits of Shaun Johnson and Mason Lino. Only Issac Luke, who kicks at 70.6 per cent and is no certainty to play in round one, is the club's most recognised option," the analysis report on NRL.com said.

The report said it had "crunched the numbers" to underline the potential challenges clubs may encounter from the kicking tee.

Kicking goals is a critical component to NRL success with every point crucial to teams points differentials.

In the 2018 season, the top four teams all finished the regular season with 34 competition points and teams five through to eight finished on 32 points. The two pods of four in the top eight could only be split by the balance of points for and against.

The report suggested Warriors back-rower Tohu Harris - yes he has kicked goals in an NRL match - could be an option in Johnson's absence.

"Tohu Harris kicked eight goals over four seasons at Melbourne and may be the club's first-string option in the opening round."

"Potential halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita kicked at 65 per cent in the Intrust Super Premiership throughout the 2018 season but is untested at NRL level," the NRL.com report said.

Luke has kicked 180 NRL goals from 255 attempts and Harris has knocked over just eight of his 12 shots at goal.

Bizarrely, new Warriors recruit Adam Keighran, a noted goal-kicker and the man many are tipping to replace Johnson did not get a mention.

The Penrith Panthers who have accurate kickers Nathan Cleary (84.5 per cent) and James Maloney (81.2 per cent) in their squad hold the No. 1 ranking on the NRL.com list.

Johnson's new team, the Sharks, were rated eighth on the list.

Johnson, who has a kicking percentage of 74.9 per cent, was the best option listed for the Sharks ahead of Chad Townsend (66.6 per cent) and Matt Moylan (61.7 per cent).

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