AAP Rugby

Maloney admits NRL future uncertain

By AAP Newswire

NSW talisman James Maloney admits 2019 could be his last year in the NRL, saying he would be silly not to consider extending his career with a stint in the English Super League.

For months rumours about Maloney's future and the possibility of him seeking a release from the final year of his Penrith deal have swirled, and usually met met with swift and decisive denials by the veteran playmaker.

But after sealing one of his most career defining achievements through back-to-back State of Origin series wins, Maloney admitted he didn't know for certain where he would be playing next year.

Maloney has always been forthright about his desire to bookend his career in England, but up until now the 33-year-old has maintained that he wanted to see out his Panthers deal.

And while he says he hasn't struck a deal yet, he is open to the idea of heading to England in 2020.

"I'm pretty open about it. I said if something popped up, if there was a really good offer, I'd have to consider it, I'd be silly not to," Maloney said.

"We're not at that point yet. I'll enjoy this and enjoy the back end of the season. (Penrith) are in a position now where hopefully we can get it back on track and do something."

Maloney sealed his reputation as one of the game's great winners when he returned in game two to help steer the Blues to a thumping 38-6 win before playing a hand in their 26-20 victory in Wednesday night's decider.

Having been to three grand finals and won premierships with the Sydney Roosters in 2013 and Cronulla in 2016, there isn't much left for him to achieve.

Speculation about his future was in part sparked by his club form in the opening two months of the season, which led to him being dropped by the Blues for game one.

But even with the Panthers on a five-game winning surge and having played an important hand in back-to-back Origin wins, Maloney said he wasn't assured of remaining in Australia.

"I don't know, I'm not getting any younger," he said, while NSW celebrated at ANZ Stadium.

"It's going to be hard to leave at some point.

"Especially an arena like this. I don't think I could retire from this footy, I couldn't say 'That's it'. I think they'd just have to stop picking me because I love playing it too much."