SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: James Maloney of the Panthers shows his frustration during the round two NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Penrith Stadium on March 17, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Panthers skipper James Maloney has responded to former teammate Paul Gallen’s suggestions that he was distracted during his last season at the Sharks.

As Penrith and Cronulla prepare to face off in this Friday night’s semi final, Gallen declared that Maloney’s form fell off due to his contract situation.

Maloney concedes to facing distractions last season, but does not believe it affected his game.

“There probably were some distractions, some things that went on. But who cares? I don’t think it distracted my footy too much,” Maloney told AAP.

“Your form varies throughout the year. I didn’t think I had a terrible season last year by any means. There were games I could’ve played better.

“But we ended up in a good situation. We played finals, we just didn’t get the job done.”

Maloney added that Gallen’s comments were “excuses” for Cronulla’s shortcomings.

“I don’t think that had anything to do with it. You can’t try and make excuses. If he wasn’t happy with the way I played, then that’s how it was,” he said.

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