Lafai happy to give kicking duties to prop

Canterbury prop Tim Browne hasn’t taken long this week to remind his teammates of his flawless goalkicking performance that saved the side from an embarrassing NRL defeat to the Warriors last weekend.

With first-choice kicker Trent Hodkinson out for the season with a wrist injury, centre Tim Lafai duffed his opening two shots on Sunday, before handing the kicking cup to his bench front-rower.

Browne first awkwardly slotted one from the sideline, finishing the evening with a surprising perfect three from three in the 26-22 win.

And he’s been hamming it up since.

“He’s walking around holding a kicking cup everywhere he goes,” Lafai joked on Tuesday.

“(Now) all the props are coming out and saying they can kick goals.”

Lafai, who had kicked one goal from one attempt this season, said he had no hesitation handing Browne the tee once he’d taken the field.

“I gave it him, because he was practising with us on the weekend – he was nailing them,” he said.

“Seeing as he’d come off the bench, I said, ‘Browney, you’re up’. It was awesome, taking that pressure off me.”

Lafai conceded he was happy for Browne to keep kicking should he be elevated into the starting side for Saturday’s elimination final against St George-Illawarra at ANZ Stadium.

However, coach Des Hasler opted to keep the sharpshooting big man on the bench when he named his team on Tuesday afternoon, with Lafai expected to be given another chance to take the kicking duties.

“I don’t mind it, but if there’s someone better, you might as well give them the job. Get those two points,” Lafai said.

Asked how many extra goalkicking sessions he had planned for in preparation for this weekend’s final, Lafai said: “Quite a bit. [Hodkinson] will be around to give a few pointers, because in finals footy, every point counts.”

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