10-year wait for Norman to become field goal sharpshooter

It's taken Corey Norman 10 years of first grade to back himself as a field goal sharp shooter as the Red V recruit squares off with fellow golden point match winner Latrell Mitchell on Anzac Day.

Norman's left boot has proven instrumental in keeping the Dragons afloat amid injuries and off-field distractions to start 2019, his back-to-back field goals against Brisbane and Newcastle securing crucial wins in the past month.

The traditional Roosters-Dragons Anzac Day clash has form when it comes to close finishes, and so does Mitchell.

His booming 40-metre one-pointer to sink Melbourne last week has been the talk of the NRL town since last Friday, with the fact both he and Norman offer left-foot options at the clutch making them prime contenders should it go down to the wire on April 25.

It's a far cry from the first 170 games of Norman's career, in which he kicked just the one field goal for the Eels in 2017, before nailing successive match-winners in his first four weeks at the Dragons.

"I got one for Parra and that was pretty wonky but I guess I've never really been in so many situations where we needed a field goal," Norman told NRL.com.

"Obviously with Gaz [skipper Gareth Widdop] going down, he's the Dragons go-to man.

"I knew I didn't have a good strike rate, I've tried a few field goals but they haven't come off. I'd say the change is me just backing my ability and saying 'just give me the ball and I'll have a crack'.

"I'm lucky that those two went over and we've got the two points. It's very pleasing but in saying that I wouldn't mind just winning in normal time too.

"That field goal was something else by Latrell, and you probably wouldn't expect anything less from him. He's just such an athlete and he's so gifted. Hopefully we don't have to go into that field goal battle with him."

While Norman's halves partner Ben Hunt hasn't kicked a field goal in 218 first grade games, the Roosters boast arguably the NRL's best exponent in Cooper Cronk (21 one-pointers) steering the ship alongside Mitchell.

It was Cronk's feigning to the right that gave Mitchell ample time to slot his monster drop punt against Melbourne, prompting plenty of Roosters teammates to join him in practice at Wednesday's captain's run.

Left-footed playmakers are on the rise across the game, with Norman joined by the likes of Camerons Munster and Smith at Melbourne and Brisbane's Jamayne Isaako also striking them well as southpaws.

With teams well-versed in defending the crucial play late in the game, Norman says he has stepped into the void left by Widdop thanks to the point of difference he offers with the game on the line.

"When Gaz was there we'd get to the left post, and with him obviously being a right-footer we'd get there and he'd be the man for the shot," Norman said.

"But the last couple of times with me, we'll go right post and I've got the left foot as a point of difference, so anywhere right of the posts is fine by me."

Regardless of how the 80, or possibly more, minutes play out before a healthy SCG crowd on Thursday, Norman is wary of keeping his emotions in check on what has grown to be one of rugby league's marquee events.

"I've been looking forward to the Anzac Day game for a while," Norman said.

"The boys have told me a few stories about the atmosphere and the occasion and how it's just electric. It's a day where you're honoured to play and everyone reflects on how privileged we are to live in such a country and be able to play footy for a living.

"The emotions could come into it, but I think it's about knowing your role and what you've got to do.

"If you've got that down pat you can embrace the day and the game, but you still know what your role is come kick-off."