Giteau takes over Wallabies' goalkicking - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Giteau takes over Wallabies' goalkicking

By Darren Walton 13/06/2008 06:18:05 PM Comments (0)

It wasn't his choice but Stirling Mortlock believes losing the goalkicking duties may improve his captaincy of the Wallabies.

Proving he is not afraid to make tough calls, coach Robbie Deans has opted for five-eighth Matt Giteau over Mortlock as the team's first-choice goalkicker for Saturday night's Test against Ireland at Melbourne's Telstra Dome.

For the most part, Mortlock has been the Wallabies' first-choice goalkicker ever since breaking into the national side in 2000 and has the distinction of notching the fastest 50 and 100 Test points by any Australian player.

But the centre says he has no problem handing the job to Giteau and thinks being relieved of that task could benefit the team in more ways than one.

"We're lucky that we've got Matt Giteau, Cameron Shepherd and myself (as goalkicking options), so that frees me up a little bit to hopefully worry about a few other things," said Mortlock.

"I think probably stats-wise Gits was probably a little bit ahead of me this year. He warrants the opportunity.

"But, to be perfectly honest, we haven't spoken too much about it. All three kickers have been kicking as though we're going to be the starting kicker in the match.

"But I think Gits has been given the nod. I'm very comfortable with that. I've still done my kicking practice throughout the week as though I may kick, just in case."

Mortlock's captaincy came into question following Australia's 12-10 quarter-final loss to England at last year's World Cup, with some critics claiming he was unable to provide the necessary leadership when the Wallabies were under the gun.

Mortlock admitted that, as the team's goalkicker, he wasn't always able to address his troops when he'd like - only when there was an injury or other break or when the opposition scored "which is not always the best time".

"This frees me up to hopefully do a few other things as far as talking to the group on the back of scoring points and that's a really good opportunity to talk to your men."

Mortlock said he would consider taking advantage of Shepherd's "massive boot" for long-range shots at goal.

But he was reticent for the Wallabies to follow the lead of the world champion Springboks, who sweat on goalkicking and drop goals as a primary source of points.

"You've got to take into account how you want to play the game first and foremost," Mortlock said.

"I don't think our mindset as a team is to be having pot shots from 60 metres out unless it's the last minute or two to win."

For the record, Giteau -- who shared goalkicking responsibilities with Shepherd at the Western Force this year -- slotted 32 goals from 46 attempts at a strike rate of 70 per cent.

Shepherd landed 13 from 19 at 68 per cent and Mortlock was on target with 14 from 21 shots for a 67 per cent success rate.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news