James Maloney has become such hot property that up to seven clubs are chasing his signature for 2013.
The New Zealand Warriors five-eighth has been a real surprise packet and will try to continue his breakthrough year with a win over Melbourne on Sunday.
His opposite Cooper Cronk is the only other high-profile No.7 without a club beyond next year.
We’ve heard the Sydney Roosters are in the hunt for Maloney, while the Penrith Panthers look a natural fit because Warriors coach Ivan Cleary will be with the coach their next year.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs also reportedly made a play for Maloney mid-season after Chris Sandow announced he was joining the Parramatta Eels next season.
The Bunnies were basically linked to any player who could kick a ball, but they were so set on Maloney they wanted him to cut short his stay with the Warriors by a year.
Maloney’s manager Wayne Beavis contacted the Warriors yesterday to let them know all contract talks would be shelved during September.
“I advised them we won’t speak to Jimmy about anything until the season is over,” Beavis said. “He can play five-eighth, halfback and is a goalkicker. He’s a tough, tough competitor who is in the best form of his life.”
Maloney was known as “Sterlo” during his days at Parramatta feeder club Wentworthville.