James Maloney can't wait to hang up boots

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Catalans Dragons' former Australia international James Maloney, one of rugby league's great characters, says he cannot wait for the end to come as he prepares to hang up his boots.

The 35-year-old goalkicking stand-off, speaking ahead of Thursday's Super League semi-final against Hull KR in Perpignan, revealed on Monday that he has no regrets over his decision to retire at the end of the season, despite playing well enough to be included in the 2021 Dream Team.

"No, not at all mate," the Australian said at the Dragons' preview press conference on Monday.

"It can't come quick enough, to be honest. I'm 35 and I've had enough. I'm looking forward to life afterwards," added the stalwart who played a decade in the NRL for Melbourne Storm, New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks and Penrith Panthers before his move to Europe.

"I've plenty of motivation. I'm very committed to the next couple of weeks - but I'm not fussed about footy after that. I'm looking forward to a change."

Maloney, who has won grand finals in the NRL with the Roosters and Cronulla and was in the Australian squad that won the World Cup in 2017, intends to stay on in France and play part-time for local club Lezignan.

He knows a victory over surprise semi-finalists Hull KR and a trip to Old Trafford for the grand final the following week would be a fairytale end to his two-year stint in Super League, but will not get caught up in the hype.

"It's not really a drama, to be fair," he said.

"I've enjoyed playing in big matches.

"It's just about making sure we perform on Thursday. We've done a lot of hard work to get where are and it would be a nice way to finish off the year."

Catalans coach Steve McNamara, a former assistant with the Sydney Roosters where he first linked up with Maloney, hailed the impact the veteran has had on the French club - on and off the field.

"He's been huge for us," he said. "I saw the influence he has on a team at the Roosters and I knew he would have similar impact on us.

"He's in great form, as shown by his Dream Team selection, and hopefully it continues for the next two games."

Whatever the result at Stade Gilbert Brutus, a fresh face is guaranteed at Old Trafford and McNamara, whose father Ted played for Hull KR, believes that is good for the game.

The former England coach also reckons the Robins' rise from wooden spoonists to Grand Final contenders under his old Australian-born coach Tony Smith provides an argument for scrapping relegation, which was suspended for 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Tony has long been an advocate of having no relegation because it doesn't give you time to build a team and he's done a very good job there," he said.

The Catalans still have a doubt over full-back Sam Tomkins, the England captain who damaged knee ligaments in the Dragons' last match of the regular season at Wigan, and have his understudy Arthur Mourge standing by.

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