It’s probably the most talked about try assist in the illustrious history of Magic Weekend, but did Hull FC and England star Jake Connor really mean for that kick to hit the crossbar and bounce back to onrushing prop Scott Taylor, for him to score against his former club last year?
Soon after the mercurial Connor claimed that he did mean for it to happen, and ever since debate has raged whether he did mean it or not.
First let’s look at the context. Jake Connor is a supremely talented player with an overflowing bag of magic tricks at his disposal. Secondly, he does have an unerringly accurate kicking game to rival the best. Thirdly, if we are to believe he just got lucky, that he really didn’t mean it, we are inviting the outlandish idea that one of, if not the most skillful player in Super League just produced a nothing kick on a big stage which would have ended up going dead and giving Hull KR a seven tackle set from their 20 metre line.
In Connor’s favour are the facts that he is such a talented player that it certainly isn’t beyond him to produce such an accurate kick. We also need to take into account that he does have a very precise kicking game in his substantial armoury.
As rugby league heads to Anfield for its annual bonanza the video of this unorthodox try assist has been circulated a lot recently, I’ve certainly watched it a few times this week, and that is what has prompted me to make the case that Jake the Snake DID mean what he did, certainly at least to an extent, possibly deliberately.
Looking at said video, if you watch Connor’s positioning and where he’s looking (directly at the posts) there has got to be at least the inkling of an idea to try something different on one of the biggest stages rugby league offers, for this man of outrageous talent.
Given that Scott Taylor is also following up the kick would possibly suggest that the England prop was maybe expecting the unexpected from his teammate. I’m not saying Connor definitely intended to hit the crossbar, however I am saying that it can’t be ruled out either, every year we see players taking on the crossbar challenge in the week leading up to Challenge Cup games, so it is something that Connor will have grown used to attempting. We also know that one of the favourite attacking ploys of players of a certain skill is to aim for the post pads, which is what Connor may have been hoping for, to cause mass confusion to a fragile defence in broken play at the time, and for one of his teammates to pounce on in front of the posts, or in the in-goal area.
Having said that however, I believe that to be detrimental to a player of such outstanding talent. Let’s face it, if certain players from Australia or New Zealand produced such a kick, everybody would undoubtedly be raving about it for decades to come.
So do I believe Jake Connor actually played for THAT try assist, too right I do believe he played for it. A kick as precise as that isn’t a trick, it is a piece of outstanding skill, of which not many players in the world are capable. Jake Connor is one such player who is capable of that level of eye-popping skill.
As I have already said once, look at his head as he kicks the ball, he is looking directly at the posts, he has a broken field in front of him and teammates nearby ready to jump on any opportunity that he can manufacture for them.
I’ll now invite anybody who reads this article to try and prove me unquestionably wrong, which I am sure you won’t be able to do, just because we all know of the magnitude of Jake Connor’s skillset.
Have a look at the try and judge for yourself , click here