Panthers stars open up on Maloney-Moylan swap

Penrith stars Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Josh Mansour have praised the imminent recruitment of James Maloney to the NRL club next season.

 

Maloney is all but certain to move to the Panthers in a reported $6 million player swap with disgruntled captain Matt Moylan, who will link with Cronulla.

The two clubs are likely to confirm the switch as early as Monday, ending almost three months of speculation over the future of Maloney at the Sharks.

Moylan's time at the foot of the mountains has also been under intense scrutiny since he was mysteriously given leave to address personal issues on the eve of last year's NRL finals series.

It's understood Maloney will receive $2.5 million over three years at Penrith, while Moylan will take up a four-year deal in the Shire for $3.6 million.

Campbell-Gillard believes the addition of Kangaroos teammate Maloney would be a huge boost in the development of teen sensation Nathan Cleary.

NEXT TARGET: Sharks chasing Pearce after freeing up salary cap space

Who wins out of the player swap? Pic: Getty

"I've always been a strong believer that Nathan needs a real dominant half there to help his game and take the pressure off him," Campbell-Gillard said.

Mansour said Maloney's experience would be invaluable to the club.

"He's been to three grand finals, he's won two," he said.

"He'd be a good addition to the squad.

"Obviously Nathan was our main playmaker. To have another player like Jimmy will share the load around the team, release pressure off Nath."

Maloney walked out ahead of the Kangaroos' clash with France. Pic: Getty

However, the pair admitted it would be difficult to see Moylan depart after rising through the ranks as a local junior and reaching NSW State of Origin and Kangaroos honours.

The 26-year-old was then handed captaincy honours at the start of the 2016 season, but struggled to consistently reach his best before a reported falling out with coach Anthony Griffin.

"I think I debuted roughly the same time as he did. I think we're the longest serving players at the time, since 2012," Mansour said.

"Obviously being a Penrith junior, the skipper, it'll be sad to see him leave.

"But at the end of the day, you've got to back whatever the club think is right. Whatever direction the club go for, you've got to accept that."

Mansour said he hadn't seen signs of Moylan struggling with personal issues last season.

"To be honest with you, I think he's not that down. I think he'll be alright. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully it'll resolve itself soon because I'm sick of hearing it," he said.

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