Star New Zealand Warriors playmaker James Maloney has rubbished reports he wants to quit the club.
An Australian league publication yesterday reported that Maloney had requested a release on compassionate grounds as he wanted to relocate his young family to Sydney – something the goal-kicking five-eighth denied.
He recently signed an extension that will keep him at the club until at least the end of 2012.
Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah strenuously denied the 24-year-old had attempted to quit the club.
“He has never asked for a release on compassionate grounds,” Scurrah said. “He has signed his contract for next year and we have indicated a desire to keep him here [long term] and extend his contract.
“He has made great progress at the club. It has worked well for him and worked well for us. We’d love him to stay here.”
The Cronulla Sharks, however, appear to be quite literally circling. According to the report in Rugby League Week, both Cronulla and the South Sydney Rabbitohs are courting Maloney.
While he would certainly consider a move back to Sydney when his contract expires, Maloney insisted he hadn’t ruled out staying at the Warriors long-term. “Maybe the Warriors will look to extend, I don’t know. I think there are negotiations regarding that at the moment.
“It will come down to what’s available and what is the best thing to do with the family.
“But like I said to the club when I first come over here, it was never going to be a permanent move. When we go back is not the issue but at some stage we will always be going back.”
Scurrah confirmed the club had entered preliminary discussions over a long-term extension for Maloney.
A four-game rookie when he signed with the Warriors, Maloney will command a hefty salary increase when he is next on the market.