Our News

Small balls affecting Cleary’s kicking game

05 Nov 22, 6:02PM 0 Comments

Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk

Photo by Getty Images

As expected Australia have been near-perfect throughout the Rugby League World Cup.

They started the tournament with a 42-8 win over Fiji before beating Scotland and Italy by 84 and 60 points respectively.

Overnight they defeated Lebanon 48-4 after a clinical first half that saw them up by 30 points at the break.

Nathan Cleary kicked six goals from nine attempts but was unhappy about his efforts with the boot when he spoke after the game.

“I need to watch it back and work it out,” Cleary said.

“I think there are little things I can adjust.

“We will do it this week.

“I can’t blame the balls.

“It is pretty cold but it is not dissimilar to Penrith.

“It was just – excuse my French – shit kicking.

“I will work hard on it and try to get better.

“If it keeps going that way, we have pretty good goal-kickers in the team as well.”

Cleary has had 36 attempts at goal throughout the tournament and has converted 27.

Kangaroos head coach Mal Meninga has blamed the lighter and small balls being used in the World Cup for Cleary’s missed attempts at goal.

“He’s working his butt off to get it right,” said Meninga.

“They’re a bit lighter.

“They’re a bit smaller.

“Just a fraction smaller and a fraction lighter than what we have in Australia.”

Valentine Holmes could take on the kicking duties in Australia’s must-win semi-final game next week.

If Australia wins then they will qualify for their 13th straight World Cup final.

To achieve this amazing feat though they will have to defeat the winner of the quarter-final game between New Zealand and Fiji.

New Zealand are the firm favourites to win this game but it was at this exact point in the last Rugby League World Cup where Fiji shocked the world by defeating the Kiwis 4-2 in one of the biggest upsets in Rugby League history.

Fiji then went on to lose 54-6 as Australia eventually won the tournament.

The recent history between all three nations is sure to make for an interesting run to the final no matter how things play out.

Be the first to comment on this article

Make a comment...

Our Valued Partners

European Championship logo X-league rugby league logo Cleveland Rugby League Brasil Rugby League Latin Heat Rugby League Logo Ghana Rugby League Serbia Rugby League Canada Rugby League Norway Rugby League Russian Rugby League Cameroon Rugby League Malta Rugby League Nigeria Rugby League Logo