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Goalkicking woes cause concern across the AFL

Date

Daniel Cherny

It is a problem as old as the game itself, but once again the issue of poor goalkicking reared its head over the Easter weekend of football.

A string of coaches bemoaned their side's consistent inability to convert in front of goal, a factor that nearly caused Richmond and the Gold Coast to stumble on the road against lowly opposition, and was arguably the key reason for West Coast's defeat to Port Adelaide.

The most baffling of all the misses probably belonged to Geelong ruckman Hamish McIntosh during Monday's showpiece battle with Hawthorn. Otherwise an impressive performer, McIntosh somehow managed to waste a chance right on the half-time siren from merely 15 metres out, directly in front – a moment that the revitalised former Kangaroo struggled to explain on Tuesday morning. 

Hamish McIntosh missed a sitter at the MCG on Monday

Hamish McIntosh missed a sitter at the MCG on Monday Photo: Getty Images

"I don't know, I'm just a big, tall dopey ruckman, and I've lived up to the reputation there haven't I?" McIntosh told SEN.

"I don't know, the siren went just as I was kicking and it kind of put me off. But don't get me wrong, I've had about 100 messages from all my mates calling me an idiot, so I'll move on from it pretty quickly."

McIntosh was able to laugh off his bewildering blunder, but the matter was far more serious for Eagles coach Adam Simpson in the wake of his side's 14-point loss to the Power.

Simpson's team kicked 7.14 on Saturday at Patersons Stadium, a tally that included an untidy 3.8 between key forward pair Jack Darling (2.3) and Josh Kennedy (1.5).

"We just didn't make the most of our chances early in the last [quarter]. When the game was up for grabs, we just didn't take it," Simpson said post-game.

"It speaks for itself, doesn't it? More scoring shots [but] you lose the game – no one likes to see that stat."

But Darling did not believe there was an inherent flaw in either his or Kennedy's technique.

“I think we’re both pretty comfortable with our routines,” Darling said on Monday.

“It’s just one of those things. We hit the post a couple of times. I got 2.3 – 4.1 would have been nice.

“Maybe it’s just our ball movement, where we get our shots from.”

Suns coach Guy McKenna could have avoided what ultimately  became a stressful afternoon at the MCG had his side been able to finish better inside 50 on Sunday against Melbourne.

"We kicked 11.20 and I'd say 10 easily out of bounds on the full – and not all in the forward 50 too – so that certainly doesn't help," McKenna said after his side narrowly escaped by eight points.

Likewise, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick had cause for goalkicking concern, and indicated that his side would be renewing its focus on what has become an Achilles heel, illustrated most recently by the 15.16 posted in Thursday night's win over Brisbane.

“It [bad goalkicking] has been a common theme [and] we’re trying to address it the best we can," Hardwick said. 

"We’re having a lot of shots but they’re not going through the big sticks. Even last week ... we kicked 1.4 with two out on the full [in the first quarter].

“What you find is you only get a certain amount of momentum in games, so we’re just not making the most of that, which we’re continuing to work on."

21 comments

  • And let's not forget the low percentage check side banana kicks when a simple drop punt would have done the trick. It's hard to believe that so many players miss easy set shots these days when you think of the professionalism that goes into their job. In many cases it's simply that they haven't practised enough and clubs seem to give it a lower priority these days,

    Commenter
    Phil
    Date and time
    April 22, 2014, 1:58PM
    • I saw a Foxtel replay of an old Hawks-Cats match recently involving Gary Ablett Snr. What I did notice was his kicking for goal. None of this tossing the ball around in the hands whilst ambing in. Ball totally immobile in his hands, concentrating on the ball, actually moving forward purposely, then kicking through the ball accurately. He had 6 goals before half time. It comes down to getting the system correct and following through on it. The modern p[layers are great at rolling the ball through, ,snaps from angles, curving the ball through the air, but fall flat on set shots. Do they practice too hard at the the other at the expense of the money shots. Might pay to wheel out a few of the old time greats to teach the young players on how to kick accurately from a standing start.

      Commenter
      Alan
      Location
      Gold Coast
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 2:31PM
      • Snr was a freak, even at 12 he could kick as far as league players.

        Hamish had the siren go as he dropped the ball...pretty understandable that it put him off.
        Burbury last week was more puzzling.

        Glad to see Hamish taking it with good humor similar to Stevie j last week.

        Commenter
        Cat in the west
        Date and time
        April 22, 2014, 8:33PM
      • I watch the Swans warming up at every home game and they concentrate heavily on set shots in the run up to the bounce. Can't speak to what they do at training. The practice is usually very accurate from a range of distances. I'd pick it as either a lack of concentration or not having got their breath back after winning the mark or free. It's interesting to see that Buddy has been working on getting a straighter run up and straighter follow through on his set shots than he had at the Hawks and it seems to be working. Not 100% yet but getting there. Never too old to learn.

        Commenter
        Chris
        Location
        Kiama
        Date and time
        April 22, 2014, 10:28PM
    • “It [bad goalkicking] has been a common theme [and] we’re trying to address it the best we can," Hardwick said. Really - how?

      D'oh - How about spending more time on kicking practice under pressure - like after running some 50 meters then kicking, or after one of those infernal ruck and mauls that we have been seeing lately eh!

      Practice kicking under pressure it is not rocket science.

      Commenter
      Tc
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 2:39PM
      • I written about this before recently, here I go again. I cannot believe the standard of goalkicking in the AFL today. I grew up in Adelaide in the 60s and my SANFL heroes of those days were magnificent kickers without exception. Players today are regularly missing goals from 25 metres dead in front. A lot of them cant make the distance from 40 metres out. What is going on? Too much emphasis on scrums mauls packs stoppages if you ask me. Many games I've seen this year have been verging on boring.

        Commenter
        stefy
        Location
        act
        Date and time
        April 22, 2014, 2:44PM
        • Always felt when watching SA play Vic in State games that SA at the time had as good a surface as any for playing our great game.

          Commenter
          Go Blues
          Date and time
          April 22, 2014, 5:09PM
      • Quiet simple.

        Thanks to sports scientists players are not allowed to practice anymore..

        That's progress.

        Commenter
        Davo
        Date and time
        April 22, 2014, 2:51PM
        • You're being facetious but also correct. It's about everything OTHER than goalkicking these days. There was a former player who kicked a few, some guy called Matthew Lloyd who made some great points about this very fact in an article about a week or so ago. I see better goalkicking in suburban footy on cow paddocks blasted by wind and only some liniment and a rub down by a grey haired retired physio as their recovery. Sheltered by stadiums (or a roof!) on billiard table surfaces with all the training and support available to them and in custom fitted footwear, a suburban hack carrying one too many beers around the midriff can still show them up in front of the sticks.

          I wonder how many professional golfers practice only with their drivers and leave their putter in the bag until tournament time??!

          Commenter
          DJCJ
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          April 22, 2014, 3:53PM
      • Could it have anything to do with the boot the players wear these days, is there more chance of it coming off the side of what is really a soft top and side shoe.

        Commenter
        Cam Reed
        Location
        Melb
        Date and time
        April 22, 2014, 3:04PM

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