Maloney too familiar with referees - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maloney too familiar with referees

By Laine Clark 09/09/2010 08:19:26 PM Comments (0)

Regarded as one of the finds of the season, New Zealand Warriors pivot James Maloney will carry another - albeit unwanted - tag into Friday night's NRL finals clash with Gold Coast Titans.

Maloney is the NRL's most penalised player of 2010 after being pinged 28 times this season - 18 more than the next worst Warriors offender.

Not exactly what Warriors coach Ivan Cleary wanted to hear ahead of a must-win Skilled Park match in which a penalty could prove the difference.

Maloney, 24, added to a stellar first year with the Warriors when he earned a Dally M Five-eighth of the Year nomination this week.

But Cleary conceded Maloney had also "made a name for himself" with the referees.

"I guess he is a new player in first grade and he is still trying to find his feet in terms of the subtleties of the game and what you can get away with and what you can't," Cleary said on Thursday.

"Unfortunately for him (Maloney) he has got a bit of a name for himself."

Not that Maloney's ill-discipline has cost them dearly - the ex-Storm pivot's combination with reformed halfback Brett Seymour has helped seal victory in five of their last six games, locking up fifth spot.

But it is a case of masters against the apprentices when the rival halves are compared.

Together Maloney - in only his second year - and Seymour have a combined 11 seasons of experience.

Titans captain Scott Prince and dual international Mat Rogers have a whopping 24.

And another stat should also worry Cleary.

The Warriors have lost their last five games against the Titans - including a worrying 0-3 Skilled Park record.

But Cleary said: "Maybe we are due.

"It depends on how you look at it.

"They have been a pretty good side the last two years - top four two seasons in a row is very hard to do.

"We have come close a couple of times but that shows where their strength is.

"They are very good in close games and with their experience, they are adept at getting over the line - we know we have our work cut out for us."

Cleary didn't think the Warriors would feel intimidated at Skilled Park despite it being a graveyard for his side.

"I don't think so. It's a great stadium," he said.

"I think there are more Kiwis who live up here than Aussies - hopefully we get a good look in tomorrow."

That was the case in their season opener - Warriors fans clearly outnumbering Titans supporters in a turnout Gold Coast centre Clinton Toopi described as "frightening".

And Cleary said the Titans should expect a very different team from the one they downed 24-18 in round one and 28-20 in Auckland seven weeks ago.

They have been further boosted by the return of hard-tackling lock Micheal Luck from an horrific leg gash.

"We have come together over the season and built some confidence along the way," Cleary said.

"Certainly in the second half of the year it has grown into some consistency - we know a lot more about ourselves now then back then."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news