Warriors' NRL stars match Storm's: Maloney - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Warriors' NRL stars match Storm's: Maloney

David Beniuk 25/07/2011 05:13:35 PM Comments (0)

In-form Warriors five-eighth James Maloney believes his side's stable of Kiwi internationals compares with his former NRL club Melbourne's Australian Test superstars.

Maloney did his apprenticeship at the Storm, where he played four NRL games, learning his trade from the likes of Cooper Cronk and Brett Finch.

Also milling about were more of the game's elite - hooker Cameron Smith, fullback Billy Slater and former Storm centre Greg Inglis.

Maloney switched to the Warriors in search of a first grade opportunity last season and his organisational skills and astute kicking game are big reasons Ivan Cleary's men sit sixth on the ladder.

At 25, Maloney is probably a rare example of a NRL half who has been allowed to mature rather than being expected to dominate as a 20-year-old.

Maloney credits Craig Bellamy's set-up for much of his development.

"I definitely wouldn't trade that 12 months for anything," Maloney said.

"I've come over here and it's been a really good move but, obviously, the 12 months there was pretty important in where I got to.

"Obviously, just the whole system down there is pretty impressive, just being a part of it and learning."

He goes as far as saying the Warriors' stars are comparable with the stellar names at the Storm.

"You've got blokes like Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater around you every day. It sort of rubs off on you," he said.

"The boys over here, some of them are in the same class.

"(At Melbourne) they're Aussie representatives and we've got plenty of Kiwi representatives."

Maloney singles out giant winger Manu Vatuvei, who bagged a hat-trick in Sunday's big 48-16 win over South Sydney and forwards Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Russell Packer and Sam Rapira.

"You've got Manu out on the wing and he'd probably be the best winger in the comp," Maloney said.

"Our forwards are going outstanding and I don't think at the moment there's a better forward rotation inthe comp."

Maloney is playing down what many are saying is his breakthrough season.

"Last year was my first year with the boys and it was a pretty successful year for me as well," he said.

"It's just really fitting in with the side now. Obviously, the longer I've been over here, the more I'm fitting in.

"The side's just going well and that makes me look better."

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