James Maloney stuns with massive NRL development ahead of 2024 season

The two-time premiership winner has made the unexpected move.

James Maloney on the bench and Maloney celebrates.
Former star James Maloney (pictured) will return to the NRL as an assistant coach for the Cowboys. (Getty Images)

Former rugby league star James Maloney will return to the NRL as an assistant coach for the Cowboys having only just retired from the game. Maloney, a two-time premiership winner, had just stepped back from his player-coach role at Lezignan in France.

Maloney has played 247 NRL games for the Storm, Roosters, Sharks, Warriors and Panthers throughout a stellar career. He then made a move to the Catalans across two seasons.

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The 37-year-old is a premiership winner for both the Roosters in 2013 and Sharks in 2016. The five-eighth has played alongside two current Cowboys stars, Valentine Holmes and Chad Townsend, throughout his glittering NRL career.

Todd Payten's side struggled in 2023, despite a brilliant prior season. And Maloney has been brought in to work on their attack, alongside Payten.

Many will see Maloney's additions as a huge win for the club with his grittiness and will to win a huge factor throughout his career. The Cowboys released a statement to announce Maloney's recruitment.

“We are excited at the prospect of the new dimension James will add to our program,” Cowboys General Manager of Football Micheal Luck said. “With an experienced assistant in Justin Morgan coming on board this year, we made the decision to target a younger coach with recent experience on the field to focus on our attack.

“We met with Jimmy in Townsville last week and we were impressed with how he presented and the ideas he had to improve our team. He will be an excellent sounding board for our spine, in particular our young halves in Tom Dearden, Tom Duffy and Jake Clifford.”

NRL fans reacted to the news with many hailing the signing of Maleney to the coaching team.

James Maloney's career before coaching

Maloney played 14 State of Origin matches for the Blues during his time in the NRL. He went on to play four games for the Kangaroos.

Maloney was an integral part of the Sharks team as he helped guide them towards their first ever NRL premiership in 2016. He is ranked No.11 of point scorers in NRL history. He finished his NRL career at the Panthers.

James Maloney reacts after a game.
James Maloney (pictured) will help as an assistant coach for the Cowboys in 2024. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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