“The precision and power in his kicks have changed matches in the NRL, in America this would allow the team to gain field position and help the team win the match overall.
“Field position and point precision punting is changing the landscape in college and NFL, and Matt Burton would certainly continue this trend.”
The Herald cracked the numbers to compare Burton’s shoe, which NSW will be using Sunday night in game two of the State of Origin series, to some of the biggest kickers in the NFL and AFL.
According to Champion Data, the longest kick of this AFL season is from GWS Giants forward Harry Himmelberg, who launched a 70.7m torpedo against the West Coast on lap 10.
Burton’s kick to the Cowboys, launched in the pouring rain in Townsville, landed just before that goal, but stayed in the air for about half a second longer.
He also planted a bomb in the same game that hung in the air for a whopping 5.8 seconds, while trolling Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt.
Aussie gambler for the Seattle Seahawks, 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 distance from the line of scrimmage — not where the gambler makes contact with the ball.
The estimated distance of Dickson’s monster kick to the LA Rams is about 77 meters from the foot to where it landed.
Burton’s kick to the Cowboys was measured at just over 70 yards, but according to Nathan Chapman of Prokick Australia – the organization that helped Dickson make the transition from AFL player to college and NFL football player – de Steeden is harder to kick further .
Cahill supported Chapman’s claims, admitting that a well-timed kick from an NFL ball has the potential to go beyond a rugby league ball.
“Controlling a rugby ball that’s a bit lighter and rounder is harder than the American ball,” Cahill said. “If you can hit a nice tight spiral with an American football because it has a little more weight, the ball actually pushes off the foot more than some of the rugby balls.
“The leather that covers the NFL or college ball bladder is firm enough that when you hit it in the sweet spot, it really compresses deeply and pops out.
“If you make perfect contact with an American ball, it will compress and fall very far, probably with less effort than an Aussie Rules or rugby ball would.”
So, what’s the key to Burton’s monster torpedoes?
One of the first Australians to make the jump from Aussie Rules to the NFL, former Geelong Cats superboat Ben Graham, says 22-year-old Burton has already “mastered” the ability to generate power after watching a pack of his best kicks this year .
“I love that he’s also a left-footer,” Graham said. “It reminded me of when I first went to the States, and point 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] not perform its kicks because it falls from the sky in the opposite direction of what it normally would. But he has great technique. He can get it off in a few steps, so he’s powerful. He has a nice straight leg. He points with his toe. He’s holding it in an interesting way, almost at the top and slightly lower contact with the ball, which I found interesting.
“I remember when I played AFL I thought that one day rugby league will benefit from an AFL type kicking game. I think it was part of the game that they didn’t really take advantage of, and he has clearly mastered it.”
Burton’s former Panthers teammate Dylan Edwards had to find himself under a spiraling torpedo in a game earlier this year, admitting the Blues center may have a bigger boot than McRobert.
“I’m going to be honest, I think Burto would have covered him,” Edwards said. “He hits them further than anyone I’ve ever played against. You have to give yourself an extra 20 yards. And the way he makes them move in the air is something I’ve never experienced before. I don’t know how he does it.
“That was a monster kick [in round 13]† I was put in front of it, but it moved in a way I didn’t expect it to move. He makes it so hard when he hits them right.”
Goalkeeper Daryl Halligan, who works with Burton, argues that the key to his kicks is simple – and estimates he has the chance to one day become as good a goalkeeper as Nathan Cleary.
“His torpedo he recently set up probably went 15 meters higher than anything we’ve seen before,” Halligan said. “I don’t think he tries to kick the ball too hard, sometimes guys try too hard for that. He doesn’t have to. He has great timing and it works for him.”
Burton has a contract with the Bulldogs worth approximately $500,000 per season. Although he has the qualities to give American football a chance, Chapman says it’s unrealistic to expect a professional player to make the switch.
Graham said that if he wanted to, Burton should consider a career as an American football gambler, but not until later in life.
“The reality is that a young guy from the country has to pay half a million dollars,” Chapman said.
“Then he has to train hard for seven or eight months just to be in the spotlight to potentially be a starter in a job where there are only 32 jobs in the world, where only two or three positions change a year. teams will look at you and know you’ve never played before, or they can get someone from college with experience on the same leg.
“My advice is that you never run away from guaranteed money. Yes, we can send you to university, but you will not be paid. Yes, you get experience and it’s all paid, but you don’t get paid. That’s the reality of it. He either doesn’t have to get paid, or he’s going into something that’s not guaranteed if he can do what he’s doing and earn at least half a million dollars a year. And even if you go from pro to pro you could sign for $2 million today and in a week you could have three bad training sessions and they don’t owe you a cent.”
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