NAILED IT: Cooper Cronk kicks a field goal during Game One of the 2015 State of Origin series.
NAILED IT: Cooper Cronk kicks a field goal during Game One of the 2015 State of Origin series. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Field goal may decide Orign but who will kick it?

THE Origin decider's all-square with 10 minutes to go. All of a sudden it's starting to look like a field-goal shoot out for the shield.

Who are you going to back?

Ask just about every rugby league fan from either side of the Tweed and Queensland will be their answer.

Why? Because they've got the ice man. Cooper Cronk is the best in the business. Has been for years.

Cronk is two from two at Origin level, the only player on either side to have ever kicked one in maroon or blue.

But break from marker to charge at the Maroons No.7 at your peril, because then out steps Cameron Smith from dummy half, to pull the trigger.

Smith doesn't kick many but he's not a man you want to take the odds to in the clutch.

The Blues' best chance of stealing it might just be a left-field option unlikely to be given the opportunity.

Make no mistake, this is a million to one. More a suggestion to the NSW coaching staff than a prediction of what will play out.

The Blues' secret field-goal weapon is none other than Andrew Fifita.

A regular pre-warm up activity at training this NSW camp has been drop goal attempts. Every man and his dog has had a go and no one strikes the ball sweeter than Fifita.

 

Jarryd Hayne celebrates kicking a field goal for the Titans against the Tigers in round 23 last season.
Jarryd Hayne celebrates kicking a field goal for the Titans against the Tigers in round 23 last season. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

He even hit the crossbar moments after calling out "crossbar challenge". He was the only player to do so.

Mucking around alongside him were James Maloney, Blake Ferguson, Josh Dugan, Wade Graham and others. All of them other than Maloney missed more than they converted.

Foxsports.com.au checked with Cronulla insiders and no one was surprised. Fifita is considered a freak, capable of doing things some halves struggle with. Not your regular sort of prop.

More likely though, the Blues' answer to Cronk will be Maloney, who has never been shy to step up in the big moments.

Maloney is actually the most accurate field-goal exponent in either line-up, landing 17 from his 45 attempts since 2007 at club level, for a strike rate of 37.8 per cent.

That's superior even to Cronk at club level. He's kicked 19 from 53 for a 35.8% conversion rate.

Smith has kicked three from nine at 33.3%.

Jarryd Hayne is four from 14 at 28.6% and Mitchell Pearce has until recently had a horrible record, turning the corner on Anzac Day with a field-goal to vanquish the Dragons and backing it up with a stunning snap shot a few weeks ago against the Storm.

Still, Pearce still has demons in the Origin arena and the Maroons know it. They'd be more than comfortable if Pearce was given the responsibility in the clutch.

Pearce has landed six field-goals from 28 attempts for the Roosters since 2007 at just 21.4%.

Pearce, Smith and Hayne are all 0-1 at Origin level, while Maloney's never had a shot.

The wild cards? Fifita, who has never attempted one at club level and is never likely to there or in the Origin arena.

And Cameron Munster, who is 0-2 so far in his brief club career.

News Corp Australia


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