Retired Maloney confirms coaching aspirations

1 month ago 15
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Retiring league great James Maloney has confirmed his aspirations to coach at NRL level after hanging up the boots following a stellar career.

After a 13-year career at the top level, Maloney officially announced his retirement this week, having played 278 first grade matches between five different NRL clubs and UK Super League side Catalans.

While his playing days are now over, Maloney admitted that he would like to remain in France for the next few years, potentially in a coaching role with Catalans, before he heads home to pursue a coaching career in the NRL.

"That's the avenue I think I'll go down," he told Nine's Maccas Golden Point when asked about is coaching aspirations by Phil Gould.

James Maloney called time on his stellar career this week after a two-year stint with Catalans in France (Getty)

"When I got to Penrith, it showed me that it's something I'm interested in. I had all these young kids looking to [me] for advice, and then you start getting a real buzz watching them debut and get picked in rep sides.

"I think that's what you can get out of coaching and I reckon that'll be a bit of fun."

Despite admitting he enjoys game day, Maloney admitted that the preparation in the lead-up to matches is something that he could not see doing next season, a key factor in his retirement.

"I just got to a point where mentally I wasn't getting anything out of all the training during the week," he said.

Maloney was also a vital part of the NSW Blues side that claimed the State of Origin shield in 2019 (Getty)

"I still enjoy game day and I still enjoy the match, but all the work through the week, I just wasn't fully invested in it anymore so it just wasn't going to be fair on teammates and the club to go around for another year."

Gould, who was the GM of Football at Penrith during Maloney's 44-game stint at the club, believes the champion halfback has what it takes to be a good coach.

"I can [see Maloney as a coach], I hope he does. I hope he gets a James Maloney in his side," he said.

"He'll sit in a video session and he'll have a secret yoghurt and a drink down [beside his seat] and he'll be doing things and not even listening to what's going on, and then the coach will ask him a question and he'll get it 100 per cent right, and then he'll teach us all something we haven't seen before.

Maloney says he plans to remain in France for a couple of years despite announcing his retirement (Getty)

"He's very, very clever. [He's got] unshakeable belief in his own ability, unshakeable belief in his teammates.

"The two things I liked about him most: he was family first - a lovely devoted husband and father, but team first - it was always about the team in everything he did.

"He had an unshakeable belief in everyone around him and in his own strength of purpose and that really rubbed off on a lot of people."

Maloney's former teammate Paul Gallen, who shared a dressing room with the him in the Sharks' 2016 premiership-winning side, also backed his coaching credentials.

Phil Gould saw Maloney at close quarters when the pair were together in Penrith (AAP)

"He actually really knows footy though," he said. "If you sit and talk to him about footy, he knows the game inside-out."

"The thing about him is, he's too smart for everyone else. He knows what's going to happen in front of everyone else, that's why he mucks around at training so much.

"He never listened in a video session, but he understands and knows exactly what's going to happen.

"I remember seeing the change in character from mid-season to when we made the semi-final in 2016.

"Absolute scallywag every session, didn't want to do weights, did nothing. As soon as the semi-finals hit, he ran every video session and led us right through to the grand final."

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