SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Ben Barba, James Maloney and Paul Gallen of the Sharks celebrate Maloney scoring a try during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on September 23, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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.

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“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.

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“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.”


  1. gallen was right about maloney in’17 . he made a huge difference in’16 and will always be spoken a but highly about our ’16 win.
    i would have both maloney and moylan in my sharks team and holmes at fullback
    and in saying that Holmes hopefully is a long term fullback but think he will go to the cowgirls .
    up up

  2. WOW, stop the press, Gallen’s making a contraversional statement before a big game.
    I’m not having a crack, and I don’t mind it, because it can be good for the game, but I’m sure Maloney sees it for what it is.

  3. Of course he had an average year ! He was getting paid PEANUTS compared to others around him. He was asking for a pay rise after the 16 year. His motivation want there because he wasnt getting the LOVE he wanted. As Cuba Gooding Jr said “Show Me The Money” and guess what Penrith did.

    • Well that’s what happens when a team wins a premiership, all the players are now premiership winners and want more money……If Maloney thought he was under paid then why did he even sign the contract in the first place?

      • +1.
        When he went to Cronulla he already had a premiership under the belt and accepted the offer he did. Not every bloke who thinks he deserves a pay rise lets his form go or doesn’t put in when there are options around. All the more reason to step it up and attract bigger $ you’d think. Gal was spot on in his summation. The guy was great and just what the sharks needed in 2016. His performances were not up to standard for 2017, distracted, giving away a ridiculous number of cheap penalties and missing so many tackles etc. He got what he wanted, and so did Cronulla in the end. He’s been great this year but it remains to be seen if he can steer Penrith any further into this finals series. The Sharks know his game so well and clearly had the better of him in the regular comp. Has he got enough to overcome that, being a structures guy rather than intuitive like Moylan is which is much harder for the opposition to counteract? Both have errors in their game that can be costly.

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