Sport Maloney surprised by NSW Origin claims

14:51  18 may  2018
14:51  18 may  2018 Source:   msn.com

Maloney steers Penrith over Knights in NRL

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NSW State of Origin hopeful James Maloney has responded to suggestions he has shown of a lack of enthusiasm ahead of this year's series.

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  Maloney surprised by NSW Origin claims © Getty Images NSW State of Origin incumbent James Maloney admits being surprised by suggestions he has shown a lack of enthusiasm towards rookie coach Brad Fittler in the lead-up to this year's series.

The Penrith star was widely considered a lock to retain his spot Blues spot until this week, when selection adviser Greg Alexander spoke publicly of concerns over Maloney's defensive issues.

A News Corporation report added further fuel, questioning Maloney's attitude two weeks before teams are named for game one in Melbourne.

"Freddie spoke to me a few times in the lead-up to things about different things, just about stuff in my game," Maloney said.

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Maloney surprised to hear he's on outer at Blues. James Maloney has responded to suggestions he may be overlooked by NSW coach Brad Fittler for the opening game of the State of Origin series due to his ongoing defensive woes.

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"It's probably surprised me, the talk, because it's been no convos like that with Freddie. That surprises me because all the chats I've had with Freddie have been really good.

"Everything we've spoken about, I've been on board with what he was talking about."

Maloney's comments come as speculation reaches fever pitch about the make-up of Fittler's first team, having succeeded Laurie Daley.

Panthers jump to Maloney's NRL defence

  Panthers jump to Maloney's NRL defence Penrith star James Maloney has missed 24 more tackles than any other player in the NRL this year but his club coach believes he is still worthy of a NSW spot. Griffin did admit the 31-year-old Maloney had been responsible for some tries the team had conceded over the opening 10 rounds, but was impressed with Thursday's win over Wests Tigers.Maloney missed just the one tackle for the match as the Panthers kept the visitors tryless."He's obviously been involved in a few tries that we've let in so far this year but as you seen tonight, we worked really hard on our defence and he's worked hard on his defence," Griffin said.

Penrith Panthers James Maloney has shown why he is one of a select group of NSW players considered definite Holden State of Origin starters with an impressive defensive effort in his side's 12-6 win over the Parramatta Eels .

James Maloney 's first ever victorious Origin campaign has come, not coincidentally Pearce forced his way back into the NSW side the following year while Maloney did so a year later, taking part in consecutive 2-1 series losses alongside Adam Reynolds and Matt Moylan in 2016, and Pearce in 2017.

Alexander has confirmed a number of new faces are likely as the Blues distance themselves from the pain of losing 11 of the past 12 series.

He says the NSW brains trust has whittled 40-50 initial candidates to about 20, with pretty much only the hooker to be decided.

Maloney believes experience is still vital in the interstate arena.

"Where it comes, I don't know the whole make up of the side. No doubt there will be blokes who had experience there before. There will be fresh guys," he said.

"At the end of the day, Freddie is coming into the job and if it doesn't work out he's going to be the one under fire so he'll have the side he wants. That's how its got to be.

"His head's on the chopping block, that's how the industry goes and how footy is."

The 31-year-old considers himself worthy of another crack following a strong start to the season at the Panthers, where he has steered them to second on the table despite the absence of Nathan Cleary.

Cleary made a successful return from a knee injury in Thursday's win over the Wests Tigers.

"I've been there before and don't think I've played too badly when I've been there," he said.

"I understand when you don't get the job you've got no real right to get it the next year. I'm a big believer in that because you haven't done the job.

"(But) that's what they're saying - they're going to pick on form so hopefully my form is good."

NSW reveal side tasked with breaking drought .
Brad Fittler has revealed his NSW Blues team he will task with breaking the drought against a dominant Queensland side in the 2018 seriesIt's to be a changing of the guard for the Blues, with Nathan Cleary to earn his debut in the number seven jumper and have the reins of the side given to him by the new mentor.

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