Blues’ centre Piers Francis seemingly had his golden boots on for Friday night’s 34-28 win over the Waratahs at Eden Park, but sadly, the same good fortune wasn’t the case for Keaton Pronk, winner of the Blues Big Shot Challenge backed by TAB.
The Titirangi resident and Senior Insolvency Manager had a shot at goal during half-time at the game for the chance to walk away with up to $25,000.
Keaton had the choice of kicking from 55 metres out for $25,000, 35 metres out for $15,000 and 15 metres out for $5,000. He opted for the latter, knowing that his football background would be more suited to a close range shot at goal.
After a brief introduction from TAB host Mark Stafford, Pronk lined up and took his first kick. The crowd held their breath as the ball arced high and looked to be a goal, before hitting the left post and bouncing back – much to the disappointment of Keaton and his supporters in the crowd.
Stafford asked the audience whether Pronk should get another shot at goal and the crowd shouted their approval. For his second attempt, the nerves might have got the better of him. He kicked and the ball sailed wide of the uprights, along with his hopes of pocketing the prize money.
He was disappointed with the effort and said that the practice kicks had gone “a bit better than that, obviously.”
Keaton won the opportunity to kick for goal after playing the Blues Big Shot Challenge at each of the Blues’ home games, guessing GOAL or MISS whenever a player took a shot at goal.
After Round 16, Keaton was randomly selected as the Blues Big Shot Challenge winner.
It had been an exciting lead-up to the big kick, held during the Blues’ final game of the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season. Keaton joined the Blues’ Captain’s Run at Eden Park the day before the game, where he received one-on-one coaching with Blues skills coach Paul Feeney and first five Ihaia West. He received a confidence boost when he slotted each of his final five practice kicks.
Keaton didn’t walk away completely empty handed, the Blues Big Shot Challenge prize pack included a Blues jersey, a night at SKYCITY hotel and hospitality at the game on Friday night.
Blues Big Shot Challenge overall leaderboard winners:
Chris Murdoch – 61 points
Barbara Connolly – 60 points
Ross Kendrick – 59 points
The Blues Big Shot Challenge round winners were:
Week 1 – v Highlanders: Dan Amosa
Week 2 – v Hurricanes: Awhina Kawau
Week 3 – v Jaguares: Bethany Wellington
Week 4 – v Sharks: Ross Kendrick
Week 5 – v Rebels: Keaton Pronk
Week 6 – v Crusaders: Nikkie Butler
Week 7 – v Brumbies: Monique Farrell