Cronulla Sharks five-eighth James Maloney dismisses transfer speculation ahead of North Queensland Cowboys elimination final

Wanted man: Cronulla five-eighth James Maloney. Picture: John Veage
Wanted man: Cronulla five-eighth James Maloney. Picture: John Veage

James Maloney has dismissed speculation linking him with a move away from the shire ahead of Cronulla’s do or die elimination final against North Queensland on Sunday.

The NSW State of Origin and premiership-winning five-eighth has been linked with a host of clubs throughout the year including South Sydney, Newcastle and, more recently, a swap deal with Penrith that would see Matt Moylan join the Sharks.

But the 31-year-old hosed down talk he would be playing elsewhere next season.

“I haven’t spoke to anyone. [I’m] plugging away here getting ready for finals footy. Bit like everything else all year there’s been all these things said but I haven’t spoke to anyone the whole time,” he said.

“I know where I’m at [next year]. I’m at Cronulla at the moment. I don’t read into to much of it. I haven’t had a conversation with anyone the whole year and I get linked to nearly every club.

“It is what it is but it doesn’t bother me, doesn’t affect me. So we’ll see what happens.”

James Maloney in action earlier this season. Picture: John Veage

James Maloney in action earlier this season. Picture: John Veage

Cronulla have only shown flashes of their best form this season to finish fifth and will host North Queensland at Allianz Stadium looking to continue their charge for back to back premierships.

The reigning premiers have named Jack Bird (shoulder) and Wade Graham (leg) to return from injury and being rested respectively and Maloney believes Cronulla are in a good position to keep their title defence alive for another week at least.

“We’re good. I think we’re reasonably healthy as a squad and ready to go. [It’s] exciting, it’s the footy you play all year to be a part of. I think we’re in as good a position as we need to be,” he said.

“We’re looking down the barrel of a month’s worth of tough footy. But I think as a side we’re physically where we need to be. It’s about us making sure as a side that we put on the performance on Sunday that’s going to get the job done.

“I suppose we just probably need to try and put together a complete 80 minutes. At stages through the year we’ve had times where we’ve played really good footy but then we’ve dropped into periods where we’ve faded away a little bit. That’s the challenge but physically and mentally everyone’s where they need to be.

“We were sitting pretty comfortably in that top four at one stage then dropped out at the end. We’re in a good position to do whatever we need to do. I think we’re in control of where we go from here so our performances will determine what happens there and we need to make sure Sunday is a really good one.”

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