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26 Apr 2018 2:37
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Penrith's Maloney back to haunt Cronulla

    Penrith half James Maloney will face former NRL club Cronulla for the first time in round seven.

    - article from

    When James Maloney runs out against Cronulla for the first time since his off-season departure, he can prove Penrith got the better end of the bargain in his swap with Matt Moylan.

    Not that Maloney has a chip on his shoulder - after all, following stints with Melbourne, Warriors and the Sydney Roosters, facing a former side is something he does often.

    But after firing the Panthers to three wins on the trot, and into second spot on the ladder, coach Anthony Griffin and executive general manager of football Phil Gould have been vindicated in their decision to release local junior Moylan.

    Even without injured star halfback Nathan Cleary, the Panthers are one of the form teams of the competition, with their round-three loss to Canterbury the only blot on their record.

    So how does Maloney feel about facing the side with whom he won a premiership before departing after a disagreement over his value?

    "It's always exciting to play against the old club. I've done it plenty of times. It's no real big thing to me now," Maloney said.

    "Especially hitting them when they're down on troops, it's a good opportunity. They'll have a backs-to-the-wall mentality at home.

    "They'll be tough. We'll have to work out what our side looks like and come up with the best way to play."

    While Maloney is firing, Moylan is still struggling to find his feet in the Shire.

    The Sharks are 2-4 and face an injury crisis, with Andrew Fifita (knee), Paul Gallen (knee), Wade Graham (hamstring) and Luke Lewis (leg) out.

    Moylan started the year at five-eighth, missed a couple of games because of a hamstring injury before being shifted to fullback.

    He struggled in Friday's 40-20 thumping at the hands of St George Illawarra and was found out of position on several occasions in defence.

    "I think Matty's a real quality player. I've always had a high opinion of him," Maloney said.

    "At five-eighth, they probably weren't playing the right style of footy to have him at five-eighth. He's a high-quality fullback. He's been at the top of the game, played for his country.

    "He's a dangerous player and someone we'll have to do a good job on."


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