Rich AFL wisdom gives Dolphins half Katoa a kick-along

Joel Gould |

Dolphins half Isaiya Katoa credits former Brisbane Lion Daniel Rich for his sublime kicking game.
Dolphins half Isaiya Katoa credits former Brisbane Lion Daniel Rich for his sublime kicking game.

Dolphins half Isaiya Katoa’s quest for the perfect kicking game against the Brisbane Broncos is being enhanced by former Brisbane Lions star Daniel Rich.

Every kick in every game is analysed by Dolphins kicking coach Rich, and 20-year Katoa laps up the feedback.

His masterclass in the 26-16 win over Wests Tigers was the third week in a row Katoa has produced a stellar display with the boot.

His long kicks for distance, bombs and short kicks – one of which led to a try to Kodi Nikorima – were top-shelf.

Katoa told AAP he could still be better, and was aiming for the complete game against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Rich, who played 275 games for the Lions, was one of the best kickers in the AFL and has fine-tuned Katoa’s technique.

“I’ve done a heap of work with Dan Rich and he gives plenty of great feedback and a lot of confidence after every game,” Katoa said.

“He watches every game and asks our analyst to send through all of my kicks.

“I kid you not, he analyses every kick, where it is landing and everything to do with my technique.

“Dan has been awesome with all the little things that go into kicking, whether that is ball drop, momentum into the footy, technique with my swing leg and plant leg. The work he does with me behind the scenes is awesome.

“I am critical of my game. There were some kicks (against the Tigers) I am not happy with, so I need to nail those every time.”

Coach Wayne Bennett said in his pre-game press conference that he wanted Katoa to have three elite games in a row, and he delivered to keep the Dolphins on top of the NRL ladder.

“One thing I learned from last year was that, after having a decent performance, I wasn’t able to back it up the following week,” Katoa said.

“I spoke to Wayne about the challenge of putting in a good performance every week.

“I guess I’ve been able to back it up three games in a row, but for me it is now about doing the same thing against the Broncos.

“The ‘Battle of Brisbane’ at Suncorp is a massive occasion, but I have to ignore how big an occasion it is and focus on what I have been doing every week.”

After talks with the coach, Katoa said he had a motto that helped him not become complacent.

“It is all about what we call ‘rinsing and repeating’. That is what the coach is always harping about,” he said.

“He reminds me that no-one is holding me back from playing good. If I do the job of leading the boys around the park he will continue to be happy, starting with the Broncos.”

Katoa is digging into the line as a playmaker in the same way that Nathan Cleary and the best halves do. His backline is reaping the rewards.

“As a half, my job is to create space on the outside so guys like Hammer (Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow) and Kodi Nikorima can showcase their talents,” he said.

“The more square I can play, the more room I can create for those guys.”

AAP