James Maloney has finally confirmed the NRL's worst kept 'secret' ... the Australian half is off to the Penrith Panthers as of next year.
Although the deal may take a little bit longer to be official as the club secures the finer details of the deal.
“I think they’re just trying to pass a third party or something," Maloney said after the Kangaroos victory over Lebanon.
"The contract’s not quite sorted yet, so when it is I can sign on that line.
“I’m better off financially, that is a thing, but obviously I get a bit of security with an extra three years.
“And obviously at the end of the day it was Cronulla’s call, I couldn’t have left unless they granted the release, so you know, they wanted to head in that direction and as I said I’m happy with the move because I’m excited about it.”
Maloney can see a lot of similarity between the current Panthers roster and the Sharks roster when he first signed for the Shire club in 2016.
“As I said, the move, the roster and that reminds me a lot of the reasons I went to play for Cronulla,” Maloney said.
“A really good solid forward pack to play behind and quite a bit of experience and some really exciting backs and young kids coming through, so it is exciting and hopefully it’s a new challenge and that keeps you on your toes.”
The two-time Premiership winning player is excited at the prospect of combining with young half Nathan Cleary, although Maloney thinks maybe Cleary might be teaching him a few things.
“I don’t know, he might teach me things, I’m not sure,” Maloney said.
“I suppose we’ll work that out once I get out there and spend some time and have a chat to him and find out how he looks at footy.
“I suppose that’s a challenge of coming into a new side, is to get to know the guys who are there and how they like to play and fitting in around that.”