James Maloney cleared to play for Lezignan after appealing drugs ban

Drew Darbyshire
James Maloney SWpix

Photo: Paul Currie/SWpix

James Maloney returned to action for Lezignan on Saturday after successfully appealing against his suspension following a positive drugs test.

The 35-year-old tested positive for a banned substance February 27, according to L’Independant.

French outlet L’Independant says Maloney was able to prove to authorities that his “drug intake had been carried out for festive purposes and not to improve any sporting performance”.

The French report says the re-qualification decision by the AFLD (French Anti-Doping Agency) fell on Friday afternoon; and that Maloney was free to play again.

And on Saturday, Maloney made his return to the field. He helped Lezignan beat Avignon 46-12 and progress through to the semi-finals of the French Elite 1 Championship.

James Maloney career in detail

The New South Welshman started his career at Melbourne Storm, making four appearances during the 2009 season.

Maloney then spent three seasons at New Zealand Warriors between 2010-12. He scored 24 tries and kicked 222 goals in 75 games for the Warriors.

Maloney then became a fan’s favourite at Sydney Roosters. He helped the club win the NRL Premiership in his first season in 2013 and the World Club Challenge the following year.

Maloney tasted more Premiership success when he moved to Cronulla Sharks in 2016.

The Australian joined his fifth NRL club in 2018, where he would spend two seasons with Penrith Panthers.

On the representative scene, Maloney played for New South Wales in State of Origin 14 times.

Maloney won three caps for Australia, helping the Kangaroos lift the World Cup in 2017 on home soil.

The well-travelled playmaker would make the decision to move to France in 2020 with Super League side Catalans Dragons. He played a key role in the Dragons winning the League Leaders’ Shield in 2021 and played in their Grand Final defeat against St Helens in the same season.

Maloney announced that he would bring the curtain down on his professional rugby league career at the end of the 2021 campaign.

He decided to stay in France and take up a part-time contract with semi-professional club Lezignan in the French Elite Championship.

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