James Maloney Breaks Silence Over Imminent Panthers Switch

From the Shire to the West

James Maloney Breaks Silence Over Imminent Panthers Switch Getty Images

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.”