The Value Of Maloney's Leadership
Throughout the illustrious career of James Maloney he's often been a key figure that has driven success in the respective clubs he's played for.
In 2011 he helped orchestrate a magical finals run for the Warriors that led them to an unlikely grand final appearance, he was at the core of the Roosters' premiership winning season in 2013 in his first year at the foundation club, before inspiring the Cronulla Sharks to a fairytale season that saw them claim their maiden premiership in 2016.
His track record shows that he's culminated into a proven winner, but one thing that is still missing on his impressive Rugby League resume is a State of Origin series victory.
Winning has now become his biggest motivation, his biggest challenge, and moreso his greatest desire, and now the two-time premiership winner is ready to spark the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues into a new era – and has his sights firmly set on bringing the Shield home.
"It's a real driving force because it's nice to play in [Origin], but it doesn't count for much if you lose,' Maloney told NSWRL.com.au
"It's definitely been a big factor for me and hopefully we got a good opportunity now...if we can't do it now then I think we'll have some issues."
Having amplified the Panthers premiership credentials on the back of his spirited leadership on and off the field, Maloney now comes into the 2018 Origin series as one of the sides most experienced campaigners.
With nine Origin appearances and 217 first grade games to his name, Maloney's calming influence on the side will prove instrumental as they strive for ultimate glory, but more-so on his young halves partner who will carry a significant weight of expectation into Origin I.
While Maloney was cautious earlier in the season when asked about Nathan Cleary's potential Origin debut, he spoke glowingly of the man earmarked as NSW's long-term Number Seven now that he's been given his chance.
"He's had a pretty quick rise in the NRL and he's very grounded...he's always working to improve his game and he's just got all the skills and the temperament," Maloney said.
"Everything about his game I think will be suited to Origin footy," Maloney said.
"It could be the birth of someone special."
After joining his third club since 2013 this year, despite having a vast array of success across those five seasons, Maloney embraces the challenge of fitting into respective cultures and attacking structures.
Being noted for having a strong ability to build rapport with team-mates away from the training paddock, and most notably being able to form strong on-field combinations early, Maloney says he'll be looking to take a similar approach to camp this year with the newly-formed spine of James Tedesco, Damien Cook and Cleary.
With just ten days to prepare in the lead-up to the series opener, time may be the enemy for Brad Fittler's men but they will undoubtedly be ready to fire come kick-off next Wednesday night.
"You obviously come up with a style of play you want to play and where you think you can beat Queensland and amongst that's it's about trying to bring the best out of the blokes around you," he said.
"We'll do that over the next ten days and make sure we work out how to (involve) all these strike weapons across the field and how we bring them into the game the best possible way."