The New Zealand Warriors will simply have to adapt and find a new goal kicker. They will face the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition without Shaun Johnson, who used the off-season to get a job with the Cronulla Sharks.
They also saw Mason Lino depart, which leaves them almost entirely reliant on Issac Luke, holder of a 70.6 percent average, but far from a lock to play Round 1 when the Warriors debut at Mount Smart against the Bulldogs.
The NRL report lists New Zealand as, “The biggest losers in the goal-kicking department following the exits of Shaun Johnson and Mason Lino. Only Issac Luke, who kicks at 70.6 per cent and is no certainty to play in round one, is the club’s most recognised option.”
Goal kicking comes into play when it is time to calculate point differentials and that element is hard to replace entirely with tries.
The Warriors might be able to get some goal kicking in the early going from Tohu Harris, but whether he can provide a reasonable replacement for the missing Johnson or the injured Luke has yet to be seen in action that accounts for premiership points.
Harris has kicked goals in an NRL match. He kicked just eight goals over four seasons with the Melbourne Storm, which is hardly inspiring of confidence, but much depends on how often the Warriors have to call on his services. He has taken 12 attempts to make his eight, but much is dependent on the degree of difficulty of those kicks. Lining up square in front of the goal is one thing, but from the wing, it is an entirely different proposition.
Another option for the Warriors is Chanel Harris-Tavita.
He has kicked decently in other grades, 65 percent, but he has yet to go for a goal in an NRL game.
Top goal kickers in the NRL typically have averages in the high 70s and Nathan Cleary of Penrith and his teammate James Maloney are both over 80 percent, supplying a potent one-two punch.