James Maloney
Prioriity for the Warriors

The New Zealand Warriors might have given Aussie playmaker James Maloney his shot at fame, but if they want to keep him beyond next year they are going to have to dust off the chequebook.

The 25-year-old linked with the Warriors last year after playing just four first-grade matches for the Storm and has been a revelation in the halves since. An option in the club’s favour to keep him in Auckland for the 2012 season has already been activated but the Warriors have made it clear they want Maloney long-term.

Talks between the club and Maloney’s agent Wayne Beavis about an extension ended in a stalemate earlier in the year and the NRL franchise has been told it needs to seriously upgrade their offer if he is going to stay on this side of the Tasman.

“We talked ages ago but I told them we weren’t interested in extending him unless they came up with some serious money,” said Beavis. “That’s where we left it. We probably won’t be talking to them again until next year. We’ll also be talking to other clubs.

“There is plenty of interest in him, let me tell you that.”

His main focus, he insisted, was on steering the Warriors into the NRL finals and he said he didn’t want to think about his playing contract until the end of the year.

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“To be honest, whatever goes on between the club and my manager is between them at the moment,” Maloney said.

“I probably don’t even want to hear about it until the end of the season,” said the product of Orange, NSW.

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