Semi-final football is already drama filled, but Cronulla veteran Paul Gallen has added some extra spice ahead of his team’s clash with the Panthers on Friday night.
The Sharks skipper has taken aim at former premiership teammate James Maloney four days out from their clash as the five-eighth switched clubs at the end of last year.
Maloney helped Cronulla win their first ever premiership title in 2016, but was traded to Penrith in the off-season last year in a shocking swap-for-swap with Matt Moylan.
The 32-year-old playmaker has seemed to relish from the swap, being instrumental in Penrith finishing fifth on the ladder for the 2018 season.
Maloney finished the regular season with 10 try assists, 243.6 average kicking metres and a total of 1797 running metres.
And in the famous words of Taylor Swift, there seems to be some ‘bad blood’ between Maloney and his former side.
When speaking on Channel 9 on Monday, Gallen fired a shot at his former teammate stating his last season at the shire wasn’t great.
“The season Jimmy Maloney had in 2016 was dynamite, he was unbelievable for us. What he did in 2017 for us, in my opinion for the club it wasn’t good enough,” Gallen said.
“He just wasn’t there mentally from very early on in the season and it reflected in his performances.
“This is a business and you’ve got to make a business decision and he did. He wanted to move on, he wanted a long-term contract and more money.
“The Sharks weren’t willing to give him that so he had to go, he found that at Penrith, obviously there was issues with (Matt) Moylan there so it was the perfect swap.”
Earlier in the year, Maloney revealed he had not had any contact with Cronulla’s coach Shane Flanagan after the swap deal was made.
High praise has been given to Maloney after guiding his team to victory in last weeks sudden death game against the Warriors, and now he’ll be looking to let his football do the talking again as he looks to send the Sharks out in straight sets.
Gallen admitted Maloney is a huge threat for the Sharks.
“Jimmy has been unbelievable for Penrith. Jimmy has done things at Penrith that I’m really happy that he’s done,” Gallen said.
“I’ve played with Jimmy, he’s got one of the best minds I’ve ever seen in the game, but he’s also a pest, he’s a pain in the backside, he can be a coach’s nightmare.
“He’s gone to a club like Penrith that has a lot of young, impressionable kids and he seems to have gone up there and embraced that senior players role and helped these young guys through.
“He’s been great for Penrith and I can’t take anything away from him there.”