Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity - Kicking king Liam Finn happy to be team player

HIS world record was recently equalled, fittingly, by one of his best mates but Liam Finn believes it will not be long before that remarkable tally of 41 consecutive goal kicks is usurped.

Liam Finn.
Liam Finn.

The Ireland captain, who heads to Perpignan with Wakefield Trinity today, could only watch on from afar as Jamie Ellis, the Hull KR scrum-half, drew level with his tremendous feat against Halifax last Sunday.

Crucially, Ellis, who was a team-mate of Finn’s at Castleford Tigers in 2014, then missed a relatively simple effort that, if successful, would have seen him stand out on his own.

Finn told The Yorkshire Post: “We’ve had a laugh about that. Everyone was telling me Jamie was getting close to the record.

“I was actually hoping he would as he is a good friend but, in the end, it was probably the best result all-around; he got it but then missed the next one so we’re shared!

“It’s a great feat, though, as he’s had some bad conditions to kick in, like Dewsbury away, while kicking at Hull KR is never easy.

“But I had a joke with him saying 42 is impossible. In truth, I think it will be beaten soon.

“When I broke the record with Featherstone in 2012 people said it’d be a long time until that was beaten but it’s only been five years and Jamie’s equalled it.

“Kickers are getting better and more accurate while there was two of them going for the record last week (Hull’s Marc Sneyd got close) so there’ll always be someone there or thereabouts.”

On his own record, the 33-year-old recalled: “I was fairly lucky as nobody really told me about it until I was almost there.

“It was only leading up to Fev’s game with Keighley that I knew and then I needed six or seven so thought we’d need a really big score to get near it in that match.

“We did, though, and it was a few days later playing for Ireland that I missed. But that was from the touchline, not like Jamie’s!”

Ironically, despite being a world-record holder goal-kicker, Finn is not even first choice with his club now.

The scrum-half, who joined from Castleford last season, has been switched to hooker predominantly this term, which has led to Australian Sam Williams taking over goalkicking duties.

Former Dewsbury star Finn explained: “As I’ve been playing hooker and going off for a rest every game, we decided there’s no point me starting the game, kicking and then someone else taking over. So, Sam’s been doing the goalkicking. I suppose I could say I’m a world-record holder and I should be doing it – but I’ll let you make that call to him!”

Williams’ arrival from Canberra Raiders has seen him line up alongside fellow countryman Jacob Miller in the halves and Finn switched to the pack in 2017.

However, such are the options available to coach Chris Chester, there are plenty of permutations for Wakefield’s midfield triangle.

In last week’s 28-24 win against Leigh Centurions, Finn actually started at seven with on-loan Hull FC forward Dean Hadley named at hooker with, unusually, two more creative players in the shape of elusive nine Kyle Wood and Miller both coming on from the bench.

“I did 55 minutes at half, then Milky (Miller) came on and I moved to hooker when Woody was spent,” explained Finn.

“But nothing is settled yet. It’s more what best suits on the day but we do have plenty of options which is great as long as it does not (negatively) affect the way the side plays.”

Inconsistent Catalans have not prospered since winning at Hull in February, drawing at home to Widnes and then losing against Leeds Rhinos, St Helens and, last Sunday, at Castleford.

Finn said: “You never know which Catalans will turn up. We just have to prepare for their best.

“We won in Perpignan last year and there’s no reason why we can’t again.

“We’ve won three of our six games so far which you’d probably describe as decent.

“But we know there’s more to come from us.”