Goal kicking a thankless job

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22:  Matthew Moylan of the Panthers kicks from the sideline during the round three NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Sportingbet Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) Matt Moylan, round 3 NRL. Picture: getty images
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Matthew Moylan of the Panthers kicks from the sideline during the round three NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Sportingbet Stadium on March 22, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) Matt Moylan, round 3 NRL. Picture: getty images
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23:  Joseph Paulo of the Eels kicks for goal during the round three NRL match between the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Parramatta Eels at Brookvale Oval on March 23, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images) Joseph Paulo, round 3 NRL. Picture: getty images

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Joseph Paulo of the Eels kicks for goal during the round three NRL match between the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Parramatta Eels at Brookvale Oval on March 23, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images) Joseph Paulo, round 3 NRL. Picture: getty images

IN the previous 87 instalments of the Parramatta and Penrith derby there is one aspect that hasn't been analysed so closely.

Goal kicking has been an important aspect of fortunes in 2014.

Let's start with the Panthers.

In round two Peter Wallace missed a penalty kick after the siren that would have won them the game against Melbourne.

Seven days later, Matt Moylan (pictured) nailed a sidelined stunner to win the game against the Bulldogs.

Ironically, the team's number one choice kicker Jamie Soward was the man who gave Moylan the final words before he took the kick.

"I asked him if he wanted me to take it but he is a confident kid and said he would do it so I just said take your time," said Soward, who is no stranger to the derby after playing in several St George Illawarra and Sharks rivalries.

"Goal kicking can be a thankless job at times because people expect you to kick them all, but we work hard with Daryl Halligan because we know it is an important part of the game."

When asked if he would return to the role of Penrith's number one goal kicker after a niggling back injury, Jamie Soward responded with a cricket analogy: "If a bowler was taking wickets with the new ball, you wouldn't take him off".

So, the question begs: what happens when a bowler isn't taking wickets or in this case kicking goals? You make a change — which is exactly what Parramatta has done.

Joseph Paulo's (pictured inset) one successful kick from four attempts drags their 2014 percentage down to 33 per cent.

It also put them behind the eight ball in the quest to chase down Manly's first-half lead last week.

The return of Chris Sandow to the No. 7 jumper this week gives them a legitimate first string kicker and continues the long legacy of blue and gold sharp shooters which has included Luke Burt, Clinton Schifcofske, Brett Hodgson and Jason Taylor in the past 15 years.

Sandow has kicked 14 from 18 goals in the NSW Cup this year, including a match-winning goal after full-time last week against Manly.

The concept of a winning kick after the siren is music to the blue and gold army's ears since Penrith had dominated the local derby in recent times winning five out of the last six games.

The Eels' last win was a 19-18 win on June 23, 2012; ironically their last away win in NSW.

Eels forward Peni Terepo said all players look forward to the derby.

"It always a a good game and I think the fans enjoy it."

This story Goal kicking a thankless job first appeared on Penrith City Gazette.

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