Logan Allen might be tucked in behind an impressive pack.
But Harbour’s resurgence during the second round is in no part down to the improvements the first five-eighth has made to his game.The Hawks climbed to second place following a 28-8 win against Green Island on Saturday.
The strapping 21-year-old was a key figure in the match. He controlled the game beautifully with his tactical kicking. He has always had a tremendous punt but now he is kicking with more finesse and plugging the corners.
His goal kicking is a lot more accurate as well and he has been working hard on his distribution skills, perhaps to the detriment of his own strong running game. Hawks’ fans will be familiar with Allen in the number 10 jersey by now but he has mostly played at fullback and is still learning the role.
He filled in last season but has been a regular this year and is really embracing the opportunity. “I’m still learning the role but I’ve got some good coaches guiding me in the right direction,” Allen said.
“I’m enjoying the challenge. I see it as a position I see myself playing in the future and Harbour is a good place to learn it because we’ve got a good forward pack, so you are always getting that front foot ball.”
Allen hails from Tirau – a small town located 50km southeast of Hamilton – and moved to Dunedin to study exercise and sports science at the University of Otago.
He was a very handy golfer, operating off a three handicap, but put the game on the backburner to focus on his rugby ambitions. What he learned playing golf has helped. Goal kicking is about getting into a rhythm and not totally dissimilar to hitting a golf ball, he said.
He has put a lot of work in during the off season and feels he has been striking the ball much better this season.
Hawks coach Ryan Nicholas has been pleased with his progress as well and felt Allen was one of the better first five-eighths in the competition.
“He wanted to make a go of it and he has come on a lot in terms of his game control and his running lines,” Nicholas said.
“He has had the odd off game and has been struggling with a [lower leg complaint]. But his goal kicking has been pretty consistent and his kicking out of hand is outstanding.
“He has a massive drop punt which gets us out of a lot of trouble.”
Nicholas would like to see his charge take the ball to the line more and make use of his pace and strength.
“He has a really good running game, which he does not always show, and I’m encouraging him to have a crack more. When he sees space I want him to use his pace and size and perhaps get the offload away if he can.
“Just attack more, rather then just distributing.”
Harbour has a bye this week but has a tough finish to the round-robin with matches against Dunedin and Kaikorai.
Read the full ODT article here