True Kicker Ratings: Top-5 goal kickers after Round 3

A kick at goal can seem inconsequential at times.

Fans are rushing to the fridge for a refill, commentators are arguing over whether or not the decision to award a try in the first place is correct, and players are sucking in the big ones while waiting to restart.

But every kick matters in the end. 

In 2018, the Broncos were forced to play the Dragons in Week 1 of the finals rather than the Warriors due to points differential. The Broncos lost that game 48-18.

Having a good goal kicker in the side can make all the difference, but looking at percentages doesn't necessarily sperate the accurate kickers from the toe-pokers.

To equip fans with a better tool to analyse goal kicking, Stats Insider and Stats Perform linked up to compile the True Kicker rating for NRL.com.

So, what is True Kicker?

True Kicker Ratings are a different way of ranking goal kickers in the NRL. In a nutshell, they tell us how many points a player's goal kicking has earned (or cost) their team, over a set period of time, compared to the NRL average kicker.

The Top-5 in True Kicker Rating through three games of the 2020 NRL season feature a few familiar faces.

Player
Attempts At Goal
True Kicker Rating
Mitchell Moses
17
5.01
Adam Reynolds
11
2.83
Nathan Cleary
10
1.92
Zac Lomax
8
1.63
Shaun Johnson
10
1.51


Parramatta's hot start to the season has given Mitchell Moses plenty off kicking practice. While he's had more attempts than anybody else, he's proven to be knocking them over well above the league average kicker. Through three games, the Eels have scored 5.01 points more than they would have had Brad Arthur assigned an NRL average kicker.

Adam Reynolds is living up to his reputation to have added 2.83 points above the average NRL kicker while Nathan Cleary comes in at third with 1.92 points.

Zac Lomax hasn't been able to lock down a consistent position on the field for the Dragons. However, his 1.63 True Kicker Rating ensures he's at least kicking the goals.

Despite being a culprit in Cronulla's five games in which they scored more tries than their opponent but lost throughout 2019, Shaun Johnson is an above-average kicker. He ranked 6th in Per Kick Rating between 2017 and 2019 and has continued to send them through the sticks to add an extra 1.51 points to Cronulla's tally so far in 2020.

At the opposite end, poor Reuben Garrick's horror night with the boot in Round 3 has him at the bottom of the list with a -6.72 True Kicker Rating. He landed just two of his seven attempts against the Bulldogs. Based on the attempts Garrick lined up, we would expect the NRL average kicker to have converted roughly five of the seven (rounded to the nearest whole number).

Garrick was lucky his side ran out to a 32-6 win, but goal kicking will decide games in 2020. One attempt can define a season. At this stage, Moses is the man we want kicking to win the Grand Final.

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Jason Oliver

As far as Jason is concerned, there is no better time of year than March through June. An overlap of the NBA and NRL seasons offer up daily opportunities to find an edge and fund the ever-increasing number of sports streaming services he subscribes to. If there's an underdog worth taking in either code, he'll be on it.

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