The NRL Match-Up: Best goal-kickers

Thomas Stelzer 18 April 2019 NEWS

NRL Finder TNF logo Image: Finder

We run the stats to determine the NRL's best-ever goal-kickers.

With the NRL back bigger and better than ever, we thought we'd do what we do best at Finder and start comparing everything NRL. Each week we take a look at one aspect of the game, from the spectacular to the silly, to see who comes out on top.

With Round 6 kicking off tonight when the Sharks host Penrith, we take a look at the players with the best kicking boots in the business.

Finder's Thursday Night Football - Cronulla Sharks v Penrith Panthers, 7:50pm, PointsBet Stadium

At the end of the day, rugby league is all about getting points on the board and when it comes to that, there's no player more important than the goal kicker.

Having a great kicker can often be the difference between winning and losing. We've taken a punt at finding the NRL's best.

The contenders

Hazem El Masri NRL Image: Supplied

Hazem El Masri

Nicknamed "El Magic", the Bulldogs' wizard winger broke all kinds of records due to his prolific pointscoring. He finished the 2004 season with the most points (342) and most goals (139) ever recorded by a player in a single season, records that still stand today.

He also holds the record for the most goals by a Bulldogs player in a single match, kicking a staggering 11 goals against the Rabbitohs in 2003, and ended his career with a goal kicking conversion rate of 82%.

Despite deputising for Daryl Halligan as goal kicker during the early part of his career, El Masri retired with 2,418 points, a record that stood for a decade and was finally broken last weekend.

Cameron Smith passing Image: Supplied

Cameron Smith

Having made our list last week as the player with the most tackles in the NRL era, the Storm captain has just added another record to his decorated career.

A successful penalty goal against the Cowboys on the weekend saw the 35-year-old climb to 2,420 career points, overtaking El Masri's celebrated tally and prompting a humorous video response from El Magic himself.

Smith is also the only player to kick 1,000 career goals in the NRL and currently stands on 1,123. While he doesn't have the best conversion rate (currently 74.37%), like most aspects of Smith's career, he makes our list just on the crazy numbers he has put up since debuting in 2002.

Nathan Cleary NRL Image: Supplied

Nathan Cleary

The 21-year-old Panthers halfback has already established himself as one of the game's brightest stars and his goal kicking is no exception. He's kicked 195 goals with a conversion rate of 84.78%, which is the best of any kicker with more than 100 goal attempts.

This season his goal kicking has continued to impress, with a conversion rate of 90.9%. His side will hope he's got his kicking boots on tonight as they look to turn their season around against the Sharks.

Daryl Halligan NRL Image: Supplied

Daryl Halligan

The first NRL player to hit 2,000 career points, Halligan was a pioneer in the art of goal kicking. He helped revolutionise the modern kicking technique, first through his positioning of the ball to point towards goal and then through his use of a plastic tee in place of a mound of sand.

During his time at the Bulldogs, he managed to hit 100 goals in 2 separate seasons and broke the then-record for most consecutive conversions when he kicked 30 without a single miss in 1998 (El Masri bettered it with 35 in 2004).

His kicking accuracy also improved throughout his career and he managed a conversion rate above 85% in his final 3 years as a player. He was also the record pointscorer in rugby league history at the time of his retirement in 2000.

The verdict

Hazem El Masri

It was tough to pick who to include in this list and even tougher to choose an overall winner, but El Masri's sheer consistency puts him ahead. He's got the raw numbers and conversion rate to match anyone in the history of the game and his pointscoring performance in the 2004 season is one for the ages.


Honourable Mention - Rhyse Martin

What Rhyse Martin may lack in terms of points on the board, he more than makes up for with a frankly ridiculous conversion rate. It's tempting to write it off as beginner's luck, but Martin's stats currently blow the rest of the competition out of the water.

In the 2018 season, Martin kicked 36 goals from 38 attempts, giving him a conversion rate of 94.74%. He also converted the first 13 attempts of his NRL career, a start that's unlikely to be bettered any time soon.

However, he'll probably be unable to maintain this standard throughout his career and so far in 2019 he's kicked 5 goals at a conversion rate of only 62.5%. Despite this drop-off, his career conversion rate is still 89.1%, making him currently the most accurate goal kicker in the NRL era for players with over 40 attempts.

Don't agree with our picks? Have your say below. Read all our match-ups here.

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