Momirovski emerges from goal-kicking demons with renewed confidence

Paul Momirovski felt the full glare of the NRL spotlight after missing the last-minute goal that would have tied the scores in the Wests Tigers-Bulldogs match a fortnight ago.

It sprayed to the left of the uprights and the Bulldogs won 18-16. Momirovski put his head in his hands and sank to his knees. The Tigers needed that win.

But the kindness of strangers helped ease the mental pain – Bulldogs players led by skipper Josh Jackson came up to console him. Other NRL players like Dragons Ben Hunt, who has also been haunted by a big mistake at ANZ Stadium, sent him messages of support.

So when he lined up last week to kick two conversions at Lottoland, he had no demons. He slotted both kicks perfectly. He expects to do the same on Saturday when Wests Tigers host the Knights at Campbelltown Stadium.

He's only relatively new to this goal-kicking caper since Esan Marsters and Moses Mbye were doing the bulk of it earlier in the season.

"It was one of those things that you don't really know how you're going to feel in that situation until you're there," Momirovski told NRL.com.

"I got thrust into it [goal kicking] at the last minute but I had been practising and I’d kicked before – but not in the NRL. So there were a bit of nerves there," he said of the Bulldogs match.

"But I'm confident in myself that I can do it. I only had two kicks against Manly but that all helps with my confidence.

"I know I will definitely be better for the experience. It happened, I can't escape from it, but there's many things I took out of that.

"I feel I'm getting a better calmness about me and other little things I can rectify about my kicking."

There was the usual nastiness on social media, but the way fans and players of opposition clubs – as well as the Tigers – opened up to him was touching.

"The amount of support I received was huge – huge. It was nice, but I'm not someone who dwells too much on things.

"I know it was pretty crucial for our season. But I learnt more from missing that goal because I'll be a better player for it.

"I understand the pressure of kicking and what's at stake – I got slapped right in the face with the importance of it in that game.

"But I'm confident in myself – confident I can handle that."

Both the Tigers and Knights are on 20 competition points – one win out of the top eight.

"There are parts of our game we need to improve and we're running out of time. Every week is a big week for us  with only three rounds left – we need to win every single one," Momirovski said.

He's still in love with rugby league despite being put through the wringer the past fortnight.

"Absolutely still love the game. And the fact I've decided to keep kicking and getting better shows that. I'm not shying away from it – I'm willing to take that pressure.

"The lessons I've learned you can't really learn in any other environment so I know the value in that.

"No one is looking back at me now. We've had plenty of chances throughout the season to put ourselves in a better situation.

"But we're in the one we’re in now and we have to fight our way out of it."