Like it or not, the kick is used as an attacking weapon in the modern rugby league world often and those teams who are good at it (like the Panthers) are gaining a huge edge. <br><br>We have analysed the numbers of tries scored from kicks in this column before; now, however, it’s time to dig deeper into the numbers relating to kick defence. <br><br>Defusing a kick is a tough job. Generally the chasers have the edge here, because their momentum is coming forward while the receiver’s is stagnant. They can hear the footsteps coming and the pressure is intense… not to mention it is usually a simple mathematical mismatch, with numerous attackers against one defender. <br><br>Official NRL statistics break kicks down either as ‘short’, ‘long’ or ‘bomb’. Short kicks are further broken down into ‘chip kicks’, ‘grubber kicks’, ‘banana kicks’ or just plain ‘short kicks’. Bombs are broken down into ‘cross-field’, ‘mid-field’ and just plain old ‘bombs’. (Those of you unfamiliar with these terms can refer to the glossary at the bottom of this column.)<br><br>Sides attempt to successfully ‘defuse’ kicks in defence by taking the ball cleanly but should they fumble a kick or get caught in goal, or get scored against or something similar that gives the kicking team a result, they are credited with an unsuccessful defusal. <br><br>The Cronulla Sharks are the worst side in the competition at defusing all kick types combined, with just 64 per cent success. In other words, 36 per cent of attacking kicks placed by the opposition are getting a result. <br><br>Ricky Stuart’s boys are really shaky under the high ball, both regular bombs and cross-field efforts, while chip kicks are killing them also. <br><br>In a worrying sign for coach Des Hasler, Manly is second worst with a success rate of 68 per cent. It strikes us as amazing sides aren’t just throwing up cross-field bomb after cross-field bomb when playing the Sea Eagles, as they are successfully defusing a paltry 17 per cent! With an 83 per cent chance of a result, sides would be mad not to send the ball to the flanks. <br><br>The equal table-topping St George Illawarra side is at the head of the class with an 81 per cent defusal success rate. They get this result by being reasonable across all categories with their worst area being a 50 per cent rating in long kicks. <br><br>Not all long kicks are tabulated though, only ones with pressure applied by chasers or 40-20 attempts. But perhaps this is a window for other teams to exploit. A way through the Dragons might be early 40-20 attempts, or a very physical, long kick-chase (the Panthers did this quite well in Round 17). <br><br>Now it’s one thing to know which teams have weaknesses to certain kicks, but there is even more valuable information in knowing which players to target. For instance, knowing Titans fullback Preston Campbell has defused just 38 per cent of bombs this season makes him an obvious high-ball target. With his winger Kevin Gordon defusing just 17 per cent of cross-field bombs, sides have two great options to exploit when taking on the Gold Coast. <br><br>Using a minimum 10 kicks to find those players who regularly have to defuse threats from the boot, we find some interesting numbers: <br>Sharks winger Isaac Gordon has just a 27 per cent success rate so far this season. He stops just 25 per cent of grubbers and is at zero per cent success when it comes to chips, bombs and cross-field bombs. While his speed is an attacking asset, this rookie needs to improve in the kick-defusing department. <br><br>Others with poor overall stats include Raider Daniel Vidot (35 per cent), Warrior Kevin Locke (36 per cent), Bulldog Jamal Idris (45 per cent), Wests Tigers Daniel Fitzhenry (50 per cent), Bronco Jharal Yow Yeh (50 per cent), Bulldog Steve Turner (53 per cent) and Sea Eagle Michael Robertson (53 per cent).<br><br>At the other end of the scale we see why Darius Boyd is on top of the Dally M Medal count. The Queensland Origin star has defused 95 per cent of kicks sent his way – and he has had more fired at him than any other player in the competition. Indeed, the only black spots on his stats sheet are one missed chip and one missed grubber. <br><br>Of the regulars, only Kurt Gidley and Matt Bowen join him in the higher echelon – the Knights captain is at 90 per cent success rate and Bowen is at 91 per cent, although he has had much less traffic come his way this season. <br><br><b>Total Kicks Defused</b><br>1. Dragons: 81%; 2. Storm: 78%; 3. Eels: 77%; 4. Raiders: 75%; 4. Panthers: 75%; 6. Rabbitohs: 74%; 6. Wests Tigers: 74%; 8. Titans: 73%; 9. Broncos: 72%; 9. Warriors: 72%; 11. Bulldogs: 71%; 11. Knights: 71%; 11. Roosters: 71%; 14. Cowboys: 69%; 15. Sea Eagles: 68%; 16. Sharks: 64%. <br><br><b>Chip Kicks</b><br>1. Titans: 100%; 1. Knights: 100%; 3. Raiders: 94%; 4. Panthers: 92%; 5. Broncos: 89%; 6. Sea Eagles: 85%; 7. Roosters: 83%; 8. Cowboys: 81%; 9. Dragons: 78%; 10. Eels: 75%; 11. Rabbitohs: 73%; 12. Warriors: 69%; 13. Storm: 67%; 14. Bulldogs: 60%; 15. Sharks: 58%; 16. Wests Tigers: 50%.<br><br><b>Grubber Kicks</b><br>1. Wests Tigers: 93%; 2. Dragons: 89%; 3. Raiders: 88%; 4. Broncos: 83%; 4. Sea Eagles: 83%; 6. Storm: 81%; 7. Titans: 80%; 7. Rabbitohs: 80%; 9. Panthers: 79%; 10. Sharks: 78%; 11. Bulldogs: 76%; 12. Eels: 75%; 13. Warriors: 72%; 14. Roosters: 71%; 15. Knights: 60%; 16. Cowboys: 56%.<br><br><b>Banana Kicks</b><br>1. Raiders: 100%; 1. Bulldogs: 100%; 1. Titans: 100%; 1. Storm: 100%; 1. Knights: 100%; 1. Eels: 100%; 1. Panthers: 100%; 1. Dragons: 100%; 1. Roosters: 100%; 1. Wests Tigers: 100%; 11. Broncos: 50%; 11. Cowboys: 50%; 11. Rabbitohs: 50%; 14. Sharks: 33%; 15. Warriors: 0%; N/A. Sea Eagles (no banana kicks attempted against them). <br><br><b>Short Kicks</b><br>1. Raiders: 100%; 1. Sharks: 100%; 1. Cowboys: 100%; 1. Panthers: 100%; 1. Dragons: 100%; 1. Roosters: 100%; 1. Warriors: 100%; 8. Knights: 86%; 9. Eels: 83%; 10. Bulldogs: 80%; 10. Sea Eagles 80%; 10. Rabbitohs: 80%; 13. Wests Tigers: 79%; 14. Titans: 75%; 14. Storm: 75%; 16. Broncos: 25%.<br><br><b>Bombs</b><br>1. Storm: 91%; 2. Eels: 89%; 3. Warriors: 87%; 4. Dragons: 84%; 5. Broncos: 81%; 6. Panthers: 78%; 7. Roosters: 77%; 8. Rabbitohs: 75%; 9. Titans: 73%; 10. Bulldogs: 71%; 11. Cowboys: 69%; 12. Wests Tigers: 68%; 13. Knights: 67%; 14. Sea Eagles: 65%; 15. Raiders: 58%; 16. Sharks: 57%.<br><br><b>Cross-field Bombs</b><br>1. Knights: 76%; 2. Bulldogs: 61%; 3. Dragons: 55%; 4. Panthers: 53%; 5. Storm: 52%; 5. Wests Tigers: 52%; 7. Cowboys: 50%; 7. Roosters: 50%; 9. Broncos: 48%; 10. Raiders: 47%; 10. Rabbitohs: 47%; 12. Sharks: 44%; 13. Titans: 42%; 14. Warriors: 38%; 15. Eels: 29%; 16. Sea Eagles: 17%.<br><b><br>Mid-field Bombs</b><br>1. Titans: 100%; 1. Storm: 100%; 1. Rabbitohs: 100%; 1. Warriors: 100%; 1. Wests Tigers: 100%; 6. Eels: 90%; 7. Bulldogs: 83%; 8. Cowboys: 78%; 9. Broncos: 75%; 9. Knights: 75%; 11. Raiders: 67%; 11. Sharks: 67%; 11. Panthers: 67%; 11. Dragons: 67%; 11. Roosters: 67%; 16. Sea Eagles: 50%. <br><br><b>Long Kicks</b><br>1. Titans: 100%; 1. Storm: 100%; 1. Eels: 100%; 1. Warriors: 100%; 1. Wests Tigers: 100%; 6. Sea Eagles: 80%; 6. Knights: 80%; 8. Bulldogs: 67%; 8. Sharks: 67%; 8. Cowboys: 67%; 8. Rabbitohs: 67%; 12. Panthers: 60%; 13. Broncos: 50%; 13. Raiders: 50%; 13. Dragons: 50%; 16. Roosters: 40%.<br><br><b>GLOSSARY</b><br>Chip Kick: A short kick that is chipped over the top of defenders, usually no higher than the crossbar.<br>Grubber Kick: A short kick that rolls along the ground. <br>Banana Kick: A short kick kicked off the outside edge of the boot. A player will run one way, but kick the ball back the other way.<br>Short Kick: A kick up to 20 metres which doesn’t constitute the above.<br>Bomb: A very high up-and-under kick near the goal line designed to give chasers time rather than an attempt at distance.<br>Cross-field Bomb: A very high up-and-under kick aimed on an angle across the field.<br>Mid-field bomb: A very high up-and-under kick attempted in mid-field rather than near goal line. <br>