Au revoir! Maloney's Penrith exit confirmed
PENRITH and NSW five-eighth James Maloney will quit the NRL after this season and sign a rich three-year deal with French Super League club, Catalans Dragons.
A deal has been struck and was confirmed on Wednesday morning.
Maloney, 33, is under contract at Penrith until the end of next season but has repeatedly spoken about his desire to finish his career in Super League.
His NRL career is now over after he was granted a release from the final year of his contract with Penrith.
"James has made no secret of his sincere desire to finish his rugby league career with a stint in the Super League," Panthers chairman Dave O'Neill said.
"Considering the outstanding service he has given to Panthers over the last two seasons and to our game over the last decade, we believe he has earned that right.
"The overseas opportunity recently offered to James, his wife Jess, and their young family is one they are genuinely excited about pursuing together.
"When we farewell James at the end of the season, we will do so knowing he has made an incredibly positive impact on our club."
Catalans sources claim the deal is financially healthy and would rival, if not outdo, his Panthers contract.
Maloney has enjoyed a stellar NRL career with stints at the New Zealand Warriors, Melbourne Storm, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks and now the Panthers.
He also played 14 games for NSW, the most recent a successful game-three decider in Sydney earlier this month.
English giants Leeds Rhinos had also expressed an interest in Maloney, who is preparing for Sunday's big match against Canberra at Panthers Stadium.
Maloney claimed just last weekend he would "silly" not consider a new long-term deal overseas.An Origin win was the perfect way to sign off for NSW.
"Well they reckon the lifestyle's outstanding over there (France)," Maloney said.
"It's always been the goal to finish up with a stint over there (Super League) and we've always sort of thought, in terms of lifestyle, the south of France would be a little better than the north of England.
"Whether it happens immediately for next year or whether we're looking at when the Penrith deal expires, it's definitely on the radar."
Just recently, Catalans coach Steve McNamara hinted his club was poised to make a major singing.
"I said last week that we wouldn't be making wholesale signings but we will be making one or two significant signings - certainly one," McNamara said.
"We will see what the next few weeks brings.
"I'm a big fan of Jimmy, I coached him at the Roosters. He is a great character and a great player. He is a champion player and I know him well."
Maloney won two premierships - the 2013 title while a Sydney Rooster and the 2016 grand final with Cronulla.
Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >