Maloney OK with big role at NZ Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maloney OK with big role at NZ Warriors

By Robert Lowe 22/03/2010 04:34:11 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand Warrior James Maloney is comfortable with having to shoulder the responsibility of being the club's chief playmaker despite his relative lack of NRL experience.

Injury to fellow new recruit Brett Seymour meant Maloney was shifted from his originally selected position of five-eighth to halfback against Cronulla in Auckland on Saturday night, and he made a good fist of the job in a 30-16 win.

Seymour broke his thumb in the Warriors' season-opening defeat to Gold Coast the previous weekend, so missed out playing against his former club.

He will be out for six to eight weeks, with Maloney, 23, getting first go in the No.7 jersey in his absence.

"Obviously it's disappointing," Maloney said of Seymour's bad luck.

"You don't want to be pushed into a role because someone else is out.

"With it happening, a bit more direction falls on me and I'm up for that in the next few weeks."

While Seymour came to Auckland with more than 100 NRL appearances for Brisbane and Cronulla, Maloney, had had just four for Melbourne, all of them last year and at five-eighth or hooker.

He was at five-eighth in his debut for the Warriors, so while he has played halfback before, the match against the Sharks was his first in that position at first-grade level.

"I was looking forward to the challenge," he said.

"Obviously leading the side, a bit more of the responsibility fell on me and I thought we went all right."

In two outings for the Warriors, Maloney has shown himself to be a rugged defender and to have a good kicking game.

Coach Ivan Cleary said Seymour's injury was a big blow to the club and to the player.

He rated Maloney's performance as "pretty good" and with the potential to get better.

"James Maloney is a halfback, he's played that sort of position most of his career," he said.

"The thing about Brett is that he's been there, done that, but he's not there and James in going to have step up and do it.

"I think he's certainly capable. He may well have been good enough before, but he's still new to first grade."

Cleary said youngster Shaun Johnson was another option and whether the 19-year-old got a chance would depend on what happened in coming weeks.

Johnson has yet to make his first-grade debut, but he got plenty of praise last year for his performances with the Junior Warriors, including from Australian great Andrew Johns.

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