NSW coach Brad Fittler has praised the courageousness of his five-eighth James Maloney for battling through majority of the 2018 season, and the Origin period, with a serious neck injury.
Maloney will undergo what is believed to be a career-saving neck surgery for an injury he sustained and then carried throughout the rest of the season.
According to Wide World of Sports, Maloney’s NRL club, the Penrith Panthers, were concerned the injury could force him into retirement, but luckily scans have revealed he’ll only require minor surgery and should resume pre-season training in December.
Maloney was battling back, neck and shoulder injuries during the Origin period too, but persevered through to help the Blues claim their first series win in four years.
Fittler spoke with NSWRL.com.au and commended Maloney for his resilience and commitment to the team.
“He’s a tough bloke, incredibly tough,” Fittler said.
“His toughness is different to a lot of other people’s.
“It’s not the same as Geoff Toovey’s, but he just keeps aiming up and keeps aiming up, and doesn’t lose faith and doesn’t get discouraged.
“He comes up with big plays, he’s 80 kilograms, he’s got a terrible neck and bad shoulder, and everyone’s running at him.”
Fittler also revealed he was surprised Maloney continued to play after the Origin period given his knowledge of the extend of the injuries before he finally succumb to those said injuries leading into the finals.
“I know it’s something that flared up and came down,” Fittler said.
“I know it played a big part, especially coming out of Origin.
“I know there was conjecture around the Manly game, and they played him.
“They kept playing him and it would have been nice to give him a break.”