Blight on footy’s missing weapon

“Most people say they’re not as successful in direction and accuracy as a drop punt but I would suggest if you look at the goalkicking over the last 10 years, it couldn’t be any worse than what we’re seeing.”

Myers had a chance to win the game against the Swans from 65 metres after the siren. Remarkably, Champion Data statistics reveal Myers has not scored a goal from a set shot beyond the 50-metre mark in his career.

A kick like that is an absolute weapon.

Malcolm Blight

While Myers is considered a long kick, Bombers coach John Worsfold gave the tall midfielder a one per cent chance of scoring the miraculous goal. Many commentators believe a torpedo may have increased his slim chances.

Myers is known to have had a number of issues with his hands over the years and while Blight was unaware of these, he said a torpedo required trained handwork. Holding the ball at a 45-degree angle, the player must turn the ball ever so slightly as they kick the ball.

“The trick is to get the ball spinning in your hands,” says Blight.

If executed correctly, the torp can send the ball spiralling through the air adding distance to the kick over your average drop punt. They’re considered hard to do on the run, so are best suited for kicks after marks, free kicks or kick-ins.

Blight says the torp’s popularity tapered off about 10 years ago and is worried it will fade into obsolescence, joining the drop kicks and stab kicks of footy’s past.

It’s the kick that shot Blight to even greater fame in 1976 when an after-the-siren goal from long range gave North Melbourne a dramatic victory at Princes Park.

Blight acknowledges the torp requires concentration, but implores coaches to bring the torp back to training, and the game.

“I don’t understand why players don’t make it their business to practise torpedoes,” he says.

“If you practise, you get better. If you don’t practise you don’t get better.”

Charlotte is a reporter for The Age.

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