'I'd never even tried to kick a field goal'
It's the moment all young footballers dream of but in the wake of last week's golden point loss to the Bulldogs in Sydney Titans half Tyrone Roberts has revealed that it was the first time he had ever attempted a field goal in a game of rugby league.
Facing the master of field goal execution in Melbourne Storm No.7 Cooper Cronk (career record of 19 NRL field goals) at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday, Roberts has to push past the mental demons that come with having a chance to win a game for your team… and missing.
As the senior half at the Titans in 2016 the responsibility to execute the one-pointer in the helter skelter of extra time fell to Roberts whose best chance came a couple of minutes into golden point.
His first shot four minutes from full-time was charged down and as he set up for a second opportunity a minute later was forced to grubber into the Bulldogs' in-goal due to some fast moving defence.
His best chance came in the third minute of extra time but Roberts' shot swung to the left of the uprights his two hands went to his head. Seven tackles later Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds perfectly executed a one-pointer to break Gold Coast hearts and leave Roberts to ponder what might have been.
"I felt good. If I'd got it over I'd have been cheering, first field goal and a win for the boys but that's just the way it goes. Got to move on now," Roberts told NRL.com.
"I've never kicked a field goal in my life so it was a new thing for me and they're the things I've got to practise a bit more.
"I've never tried. Never in a game because we've had 'Mullo' (Jarrod Mullen) there or Kurt [Gidley] (at his former club, Newcastle).
"Not even in juniors. We always flogged them in juniors, so there's no real point kicking a field goal.
"There's a first time for everything and hopefully next time I can put it straight through the sticks."
In many ways last weekend's loss against the highly-fancied Bulldogs embodied the Titans' season to date; a team willing to work hard for each other for the entire 80 minutes but without the polish to convert close contests into premiership points.
With Ashley Taylor again expected to be sidelined with a rib complaint Roberts will be partnered in the halves by two-game rookie Cameron Cullen as the Titans look to arrest a four-game losing streak.
Coach Neil Henry said their execution was lacking in the latter stages of the clash with Canterbury and that the halves need to assume greater control when the game is on the line.
"That's a clutch play and that responsibility falls on his shoulders as one of our halves and he missed his opportunity," Henry said. "He's disappointed with that but he could have won us the game there as well.
"Tyrone got a clear shot and he hooked the ball to the left of the posts; [Josh] Reynolds got his opportunity and nailed it.
"We missed an opportunity to have another shot before the 80 minutes, maybe a bit of a lack of experience there but we needed to set up a bit better and have another crack.
"The boys practise their field goals at training and some variety. A two-pass option with both halves available to do it, we've got a set that we do that is a set-up for it as well.
"With players not being square at marker or rushing off the line, there hasn't been many penalties around golden point so it gets very messy there with defenders being able to leave early."