26 Jul 2011

Maloney relishing purple pacth at Warriors

6:33 am on 26 July 2011

The 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 saying he wouldn't trade his 12 months at the Storm for anything.

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

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.