Sat 10 Aug 2019, 08:01 AM
Esan Marsters didn’t need to look far to know he was struggling with form and confidence when he missed some simple conversions for the Wests Tigers this season. Marsters went from kicking 76.7 per cent of goals last year to just 65.6 per cent in 2019 as the joint venture slumped to bottom spot overall.
A particularly off night with the boot at Bankwest Stadium in round 17 proved the final straw for the Kiwi international, who agreed with Michael Maguire to ditch the kicking duties in a bid to restore confidence. He feared any further misses with the boot could’ve risked his position in the side. Young gun Tommy Talau remains in an extended squad for Saturday’s clash with Canterbury.
“It wasn’t just the kicking, it was my own performances as well,” Marsters said."It was playing in the back of my mind. I think the pressure of not knowing if you’re going to get the kick or not is now a weight off my shoulders. “There’s definitely a lot of expectations on myself but it comes back to me. I’m trying to get back on track now with no goal kicking. If that works then hopefully I’ll just keep going with it.”
Marsters came under fire from Andrew Johns during Channel Nine commentary recently for having “too much swing” when attempting to kick goals, particularly from close range. He continues to work with Wests Tigers assistant coach and prolific goalkicker Brett Hodgson, who was renowned for an uncomplicated style and straight ball flight during his playing days. “He’s been trying to get me kicking straight, it’s been working but I’ve got to keep practising and tweaking a few things,” Marsters said. “Madge and I spoke and said where my head was at and we felt like the best thing for the team was for me not to kick. But I’m still practising so hopefully I can kick again.”
The Wests Tigers are aiming for three straight wins for the first time this season. They were in a similar position to start the year until Canterbury upset them in round three in Campbelltown despite the side going in as heavy favourites, a trend that has occurred in recent history.