Nathan Cleary goal kicking, Andrew Johns, Darryl Halligan,


Last week Nathan Cleary sparked controversy which prompted an NRL crackdown after it was shown his conversion kick was not taken in line from where Brian To’o’s try was scored in the corner.

Cleary’s conversion attempt was missed, but the fact that he took it several metres inside the sideline – instead of just a metre inside touch as he should have – led to some scrutiny from NRL head of football Graham Annesley.

“It was a failure of process more than anything else,” Annesley said, while also admitting the second half incident thankfully didn’t affect the 10-6 outcome of the game.

“The referees did not follow a process that resulted in the kick being taken from the right position.

“I think that it’s something that hasn’t had the necessary level of attention that it should have. It’s a very important aspect obviously of scoring in our game. We all know conversions are taken in line with where the try is scored, so it’s important that that’s right.”

“The one thing I can absolutely assure you of is that that process has been rectified already today and we won’t see an occurrence of that type of incident in the grand final,” he added.

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But it seems that Cleary’s cheeky actions are nothing new in rugby league.

Eighth Immortal Andrew Johns revealed that even a goal-kicking legend taught him a thing or two about bending the rules when it came to conversions.

“When you score, after everyone celebrates and slaps each other on the backside which is great for five seconds, the linesman would stand in line of where you scored, so you’d line up with the linesman and set up,” Johns began on Wide World of Sports’ Freddy & The Eighth.

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“What I used to do was, my kicking coach at the time was Daryl Halligan, and he said when you set it down and the linesman goes away, pick up your tee and just move it forward a foot.

“Because you never know, that foot could really be the difference between you hitting the post and hitting the post and it going in.

“His philosophy – think of the right foot kicker from the left-hand side where it’s the most favoured side to curl it in – your target was about a metre inside the right post which gave you some insurance.

“His advice was never ever hook the ball to the left. If you’re going to miss it, at least put it out to the right.

“Sometimes when you’ve got the tee [a foot] further in, sometimes it paid off.”

Despite openly admitting he had done the same as Cleary, Johns and fellow Blues great Brad Fittler also didn’t think it was a big deal what the Panthers star did against the Storm.

“Really, who cares,” Johns said.

“[Cleary] missed. At the end of the day, he missed,” Fittler said .

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