“The accuracy and power of his kicks changed games in the NRL, in America it would help the team gain position on the pitch and overall help the team win the game.
“Field position and punting accuracy are changing the landscape in college and the NFL, and Matt Burton will certainly continue that trend.”
The Herald crunched the numbers to compare the boot of Burton, who NSW will call in Game 2 of the State of Origin Series on Sunday night, to some of the biggest kickers in the NFL and AFL.
According to Champion Data, the longest kick of this AFL season belongs to GWS Giants striker Harry Himmelberg, who launched a 70.7m torpedo against the West Coast in round 10.
Burton’s kick against the Cowboys, which was delivered in pouring rain in Townsville, landed just short of that mark but stayed in the air for about half a second longer.
He also set up a bomb in the same game that hung in the air for 5.8 seconds, stunning Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt.
Australian Seattle Seahawks punter Michael Dickson has one of the biggest legs in the NFL.
His longest kick of the season was measured at 68 yards (62.2 meters), although the NFL measures the kick distance from the line of scrimmage – not where the punter comes in. contact with the ball.
The estimated distance of Dickson’s monster kick against the LA Rams is around 77 yards from the foot where he landed.
Burton’s kick against the Cowboys was measured at just over 70 yards, but according to Nathan Chapman of Prokick Australia – the organization that helped turn Dickson from AFL player to college and NFL footballer – the Steeden is harder to hit further.
Cahill backed up Chapman’s claims, admitting that a well-timed kick from an NFL ball has the potential to go farther than a rugby league ball.
“Driving a slightly lighter, rounder rugby ball is more difficult than the American ball,” Cahill said. “If you can hit a nice tight spiral with an American football, because it has a bit more weight, the ball actually compresses the foot more than some rugby balls.
“The leather that covers the bladder of the NFL or college ball is firm enough that when you hit it in the right spot, it compresses deeply and comes off.
“If you make perfect contact on an American ball, it will compress and fall very far, probably with less effort than a rugby ball or Aussie ball.”
So what’s the key to Burton’s monster torpedoes?
One of the first Australians to make the switch from Aussie rules to the NFL, former Geelong Cats superboot Ben Graham, said Burton, 22, had already ‘mastered’ the ability to generate power after watching a package of his best shots this year. .
“I like that he’s also a southpaw,” Graham said. “It reminded me of the first time I went to the United States, and the punt returners didn’t really understand how the ball fell from the sky [from left footers]. He has an advantage there.
“I see in many of his highlights [the fullbacks] doesn’t send his kicks because he’s falling from the sky in the opposite direction to what he normally would. But he has great technique. He takes it off in a few steps, so he’s powerful. He has a nice right leg. He points his toe. He holds it in an interesting way, almost on top and in contact with the ball a bit lower, which I found interesting.
“I remember when I was playing the AFL thinking that one day rugby league would capitalize on an AFL-style kicking game. I think that was a part of the game that they didn’t really take advantage of, and he obviously mastered it.
Burton’s former Panthers teammate Dylan Edwards had to stand under a spiral torpedo in a game earlier this year, and admits the Blues center might have a bigger boot than McRobert.
“I’ll be honest, I think Burto would have covered it,” Edwards said. “He hits them further than anyone I’ve ever played against. You have to give yourself 20 extra meters. And the way he makes them move through the air is something I’ve never come across before. I don’t know how he does it.
“It was a monster kick [in round 13]. I was placed there for it, but it moved in a way that I didn’t expect it to move. He makes it so tough when he hits it right.
Goaltending ace Daryl Halligan, who works with Burton, argues the key to his kick is simple – and credits him with a chance to one day become as good a goalie as Nathan Cleary.
“His torpedo that he launched the other day was probably 15 yards longer than what we’ve seen before,” Halligan said. “I don’t think he tries to hit the ball too hard, sometimes guys try too hard in that regard. He doesn’t need to. He has good timing and it works for him.
Burton has a contract with the Bulldogs worth about $500,000 per season. Although he has the attributes to give American football a chance, Chapman says it’s unrealistic to expect a professional league player to make the transition.
Graham said Burton, if he wanted to, should consider a career as an American football bettor, but only later in life.
“The reality is that a young man in the country will have to walk away half a million dollars,” Chapman said.
“Then he has to train hard for seven or eight months, just to be in the window to potentially be a rookie in a job where there are only 32 jobs in the world, where only two or three positions change every NFL teams will look at you and know you’ve never played before, or they might find someone from college with experience, with the same leg.
“My advice is that you never walk away from guaranteed money. Yes, we can send you to college, but you don’t get paid. Yes, you get experience and everything gets paid, but you don’t get paid. It is reality. He either has to go unpaid or get into something unsecured when he can do what he does and make at least half a million dollars a year. And even if you go pro to pro, you could sign for $2 million today and in a week you could have three bad workouts and they don’t owe you a dime.
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