Bulldogs prop Tim Browne has played virtually his whole senior career under Des Hasler and says it may have been some shots at goal back in his Manly days that prompted Hasler to hand him the duties against the Warriors a fortnight ago.
In the finals furnace last week it was halfback Moses Mbye entrusted with the duties, resulting in one from two – though the one he missed almost proved pivotal as it allowed the Dragons to force the game into extra time.
Browne told NRL.com he did plenty of kicking in his younger days and is always ready if Hasler needs to call on him.
"I did it when I was younger a bit and Des tapped me on the shoulder about two months ago when we went through that Origin period just to get a bit of practice there in case it happened," Browne said.
"My opportunity came the other week and I gave it a red hot crack."
After centre Tim Lafai missed two tough chances from out wide in Round 26, eyebrows were raised around ANZ Stadium when the 27-year-old prop moved up to take his first ever shot at goal in the NRL from the touch line following Chase Stanley's 56th-minute four-pointer.
Jaws dropped shortly after when the 194-centimetre bookend guided the attempt straight between the sticks, adding two more goals from easier positions later on.
"It was good, I didn't know whether to laugh or... the bench were cacking themselves!" Browne recalled.
"I did a bit when I was younger and my first full-time contract was at Manly so [Hasler] saw me kicking in the younger grades there so maybe it stayed in the back of his head and he tapped me on the shoulder a couple of months ago and said to start practising just in case and we went from there," he added by way of explanation.
Browne was a Sea Eagle in 2008 and 2009 when Hasler was head coach there, though he didn't crack first grade until he arrived at Belmore in 2010. Even then he only played four games in 2010 and none from 2011-12 until Hasler made him a first grade regular from 2013 onwards.
As a prop who is unlikely to ever play much more than 40 minutes per week it would be tough for Hasler to rely too heavily on Browne's goal kicking but it's a fair option to have up his sleeve
"I've always been a prop, I've always been in the middle. I don't know, I enjoy it, it's probably unwanted pressure you probably don't want but it's another string to the bow. I'll have a crack if he wants me to and I'll do my best," Browne said.
"If Moses is kicking well there's no need to fix something that's not broken."
Browne said he has only ever really known top grade football under Hasler but finds him to be a coach that helps him get the best out of himself.
While Browne is unlikely to do much goal kicking against the Roosters on Friday night, he will be called upon to help nullify the threat of big men such as Dylan Napa and Kane Evans in the middle.
"They're massive boppas, they've been going forward for them well and I think they're scoring their points on the back of good go forward," Browne said.
"They've played great footy all year, they've got a great pack with a lot of danger men in there and we need to be on our game and turn up with a lot of enthusiasm to match their energy."
This article first appeared on NRL.com