Michael Gordon: 35 kicks, one goal

PENRITH Panthers flyer Michael Gordon might be 1800-plus points behind Hazem El Masri’s all-time NRL point scoring record but that hasn’t stopped the 25-year-old super boot targeting another El Masri milestone, that of his record 35 consecutive goals.<br><br>Gordon has been flawless with the boot so far this season, piloting 19 goals from as many attempts through the uprights, leaving him with the task of nailing 16 more to tie El Masri’s mark.<br><br>Barry Eaton holds the world record of 38 consecutive goals, scored in the second division of English football, another potential target for Gordon.<br><br>Unfortunately for the Panthers’ winger, trial games don’t count in terms of the record, meaning the handful of goals he pushed through in the pre-season boosted his confidence but not his tally.<br><br>“I am obviously happy with the streak but I have to thank the guys for scoring most of the tries near the posts – it certainly makes my job a lot easier,” Gordon told nrl.com.<br><br>“A few of the boys have asked me about the streak because of the confusion as to whether last year or trials count but all I know is I have 19 from this season so it’s a little while to go yet.<br>&nbsp;<br>“I didn’t miss any in the trials but I don’t think they count. I was happy with 10… if I get to 20 I’ll be excited and if I can get anywhere near 30, I’ll be stoked.<br><br>“It would definitely be something to tell the grandkids but it’s still a way off so I don’t want to think about it too much. <br><br>“I’ll just concentrate on playing and kicking well and hopefully the boys score under the posts for me.<br><br>“If I start getting a little closer I’m sure it will enter my mind a bit but I’ve probably just put the ‘mocker’ on myself.”<br><br>Gordon is one of the many kickers to work with former Kiwi sharpshooter Daryl Halligan who claimed the Panthers kicker deserves his chance at the streak record after putting in the hard yards.<br><br>“He’s a real worker and he doesn’t let anything get in the way of his practice,” Halligan says. <br><br>“Before the Manly game the other week we went for a kick down at Penrith Park but the soccer posts were up instead of the league posts. <br><br>“So Michael got a tackle bag and put a fluorescent marker on it and used it as a right upright marker inside the soccer posts before finishing a complete session. <br><br>“His work ethic is great so he deserves the run he’s on at the moment.”<br><br>Halligan admits there is an element of luck in any consecutive run of kicks, but says Gordon’s natural ability and dedication to practice could see this seemingly under-the-radar kicker take away one of El Masri’s marks – provided he can beat the mental demons.<br><br>“If you look at some of those kicks he’s had in the streak there have been some hard ones,” Halligan says. <br><br>“The kicks from about 10 metres in from the sideline are generally the hardest as kickers tend to relax a little more for the ones from the sideline.<br><br>“His action is different to most kickers in that he lands more heavily on his left foot but still manages to control his shape, which is really important. <br><br>“Now he has to deal with the pressure of maintaining the streak. <br><br>“Most kickers would know their streaks, especially as you get past 10 or so. <br><br>“He has done extremely well to get near 20 and will be doing even better to continue it. <br><br>“It will be more a mental game to endure now.”<br><br>Gordon’s Panthers team-mates have become extremely confident in their wingman’s ability to add the extras to their four-pointers, so much so that they see it as an almost foregone conclusion.<br><br>“Micky has been working hard on the skill at training so we have great confidence in him,” Luke Lewis says <br><br>“We know when we score a try he is going to kick the goal 99 times out of 100 so it gives us a good feeling and keeps us positive if we are behind because we know we can score in sixes if we put it together. <br>“Plus he can play good football, which is the real reason he is in the team.”<br><br>Gordon plays down the extra work he does on the skill, claiming it’s nothing more than most NRL kickers. <br><br>“I try to have fun with it but it’s a serious business also. <br><br>“If I practice early in the week it’s more about just throwing the leg over and getting into the rhythm of kicking again. Then later in the week I’ll keep it pretty simple by just having 20 kicks or so from various positions.<br><br>“I kicked one from 55 metres the other day with some wind behind me, which was a bit of a training highlight.” <br><br>When asked if he would put his hand up to win a game at the death if the Panthers were awarded a penalty from a similar distance, Gordon backed himself. <br><br>“You’d have to have a shot wouldn’t you?” he says.<br><br>His Panthers team-mates would certainly have no trouble throwing him the ball.<br><br>