NRL watching slow goal kickers

The National Rugby League (NRL) is considering the introduction of a basketball-style shot clock for goal kickers following concerns at the time absorbed taking conversions and penalties.

Brent Webb of the New Zealand Warriors' is the worst offender, taking an average of one minute 57 seconds when he lined up attempts against Parramatta last weekend at Ericsson Stadium.

His longest set up took 2min 15sec - enough time for a world class sprinter to complete the 100m dash 13 times.

The prolonged conversion, halfway between the posts and sideline, missed.

Webb's meandering put all goalkickers under the spotlight, with NRL statistician David Middleton timing each kick attempt in the last round.

A meeting on NRL chief executives discussed the issue last week at their conference and the subject of a shot clock with a two minute limit was raised.

It will be debated again at the end of the season and could be introduced in 2004.

Canberra's Clinton Schifcoske was considered the slowest before Webb became the latest Warrior to inherit the kicking responsibilities.

"I saw some footage of Brent Webb, he took longer than me! It's good he's taken the pressure off me," Schifcoske said.

"I hope they relate to him now instead of saying my name all the time." Schifcoske takes 1min 15sec per kick while Bulldogs sharp shooter Hazem El Masri uses up 1min 6sec.

Cronulla's Brett Kimmorley doesn't die wondering, averaging just 26sec per kick although he might be advised to take more time as he has only a 56 percent success rate.

Craig Fitzgibbon of the Sydney Roosters doesn't muck around either, taking 36sec per shot.

Referees are instructed to blow time out if they believe a kicker is taking too long but it rarely happens.

Time out for all kicks at goal was not an option. It was trailed 20 years ago but dropped after a three-week trial because it was often dark before the game ended.

NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said the shot clock initiative was "worth exploring."

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