Siosiua Taukeiaho wants to assure all Roosters fans that he'll have more time to practise his goal-kicking this week to provide a worthy back-up to Latrell Mitchell in Sunday's NRL Telstra Premiership grand final against Storm.
The front-rower missed his two shots at goal in the Roosters' 12-4 win over the Rabbitohs in last weekend's preliminary final. He was not Robinson Crusoe there as Blake Ferguson also missed two.
"Obviously I'm a bit disappointed with the goal-kicking," Taukeiaho told NRL.com.
"But the most important thing is that we came away with the win. It's awesome to be a in a grand final."
And in that game the Roosters have regular kicker Latrell Mitchell returning from suspension – with a 77.5% success rate from his 86 goals in 23 games for the Rosters in 2018.
But Taukeiaho is the normally reliable understudy. He's only kicked five goals this year for the Roosters because of Mitchell's consistency, but he's kicked 21 goals from seven games for Tonga.
The 26-year-old prop hurt his left ankle seven minutes into the qualifying final win over the Sharks and only began running three days before playing the Rabbitohs.
"I only had two practise sessions (kicking) as I was focused a hundred per cent on getting out there on the field," he said.
"I have been kicking for a while so there's no excuses there. It's so important at this time (in the finals) where two points, slotting those kicks through, can make all the difference."
The Roosters won by eight points, but they also gave away eight by missing those three conversions and a penalty.
That margin could be the difference between winning and losing against Storm at ANZ Stadium. If something happens to Mitchell, is anyone feeling nervous about Taukeaho or Ferguson?
"Sio is a really high-quality goalkicker and he has kicked well in the past for us and also internationally for Tonga," coach Trent Robinson said.
"The first run he had on the field was Thursday so that was a big effort (against the Rabbitohs).
"But the goalkicking with his ankle with the twist and all that is tough so he just needs time and practise."
And that's where you'll find Taukeiaho at Moore Park this week – kicking tee in hand and moving from sideline to sideline to capture as many angles and distances as he can.
"Goal kicking wasn't my main focus last week – this week it will be," he said.
"Every kick next week I know will count but we've got Latrell Mitchell back, so he's our main goal kicker.
"But I will put my hand up for back-up if I'm needed. So I'll recover well and get more practise in this week."
He said his ankle held up well through the 49 minutes against the South Sydney pack.
"Sweet. It didn't trouble me at all."
Now the 108kg Auckland-born Taukeiaho gets to mix it with fellow New Zealanders Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
"It's going to be a really tough and exciting game. Most fans will be looking forward to this battle," Taukeiaho said. "Melbourne is a tough team that has performed so well all year.
"Nothing changes for us this week as recover well, train and prepare well and we've got the added lift of having Dylan (Napa) and Latrell back – two of our main players coming back."
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