The 35-year-old goal-kicking stand-off, speaking ahead of Thursday’s Super League semi-final against Hull KR in Perpignan, revealed he has no regrets over his decision to retire from professional rugby league at the end of the season, despite playing well enough to be included in the 2021 Dream Team.
It can’t come quick enough
“No, not at all mate,” Maloney said. “It can’t come quick enough, to be honest. I’m 35 and I’ve had enough. I’m looking forward to life afterwards.
“I’ve plenty of motivation – I’m very committed to the next couple of weeks – but I’m not fussed about footy after that. I’m looking forward to a change.”
James Maloney, who has won Grand Finals in the NRL with Sydney Roosters and Cronulla and was in the Australian squad that won the World Cup in 2017, intends to stay on in France and play part-time for local club Lezignan.
He knows a victory over surprise semi-finalists Hull KR and a trip to Old Trafford the following week would be a fairytale end to his two-year stint in Super League but will not get caught up in the hype.
“It’s not really a drama, to be fair,” he added. “I’ve enjoyed playing in big matches.
“It’s just about making sure we perform on Thursday. We’ve done a lot of hard work to get where are and it would be a nice way to finish off the year.”
Catalans coach Steve McNamara hailed the impact Maloney has had on the French club on and off the field.
“He’s huge for us,” he said. “I saw the influence he has on a team at the Roosters and I knew he would have similar impact.”
“He’s in great form, as shown by his Dream Team selection, and hopefully it continues for the next two games.”
The Catalans still have a doubt over full-back Sam Tomkins, who damaged knee ligaments in the Dragons’ last match of the regular season at Wigan. His understudy, Arthur Mourge, is standing by to step into the shoes of the England captain.
“Sam’s improving each day,” McNamara said. “We all know the quality of the player he is and, if he’s good, he’ll play; if not we’ll find a different route. We’ve done that all season.”