Maloney relief at second chance success
A skilful catch from a shocking dummy-half pass by Aiden Guerra, a step to the right and a jink to the left was what it took for Roosters five-eighth James Maloney to snatch the match winning field goal on Friday night against the Cowboys.
He made it look easy, right?
What if you factor in there is only four minutes remaining on and the clock locked in an semi final fixture and young North Queensland prodigy Jason Taumalolo is sprinting towards you, his 112kg-frame hell-bent on stopping you in your tracks?
While the Roosters had been able to stem the flow of the Cowboys' try scoring plays in the second half up to this point, with the lads from up north recovering from a 30-point deficit, Maloney realised the enormity of the situation and acted accordingly.
"I just thought it happened so quickly, so to be honest I'm not quite sure [what happened] but I probably just sensed the space and if I stepped back in I might have a bit of time," Maloney explained after the game.
"Obviously I was right in front of the posts so I knew I just needed to get to a point where I could get the ball on the ground and get a hold of it because most likely it was going to go over.
"We had to work pretty hard to get ourselves in the game and to get ourselves back in that position. I missed a conversion [earlier in the second half] so I probably owed it to the boys and luckily it went over."
It could have been a very different week for Maloney and co. however if he did the very same against the Panthers last weekend. Up by six, Maloney sprayed a field goal wide and by game's end it was Penrith who secured the weekend off thanks to a Jamie Soward field goal.
While two consecutive one-point thrillers involving the Roosters have ensured rugby league remains on the edge of its proverbial seat in the 2014 finals series, Maloney insists the reigning premiers aren't overawed by the situation they face in their quest to win back-to-back titles for the first time since the Broncos achieved the rare feat in 1992-1993.
"How it got back to me having to kick a field goal to win, I have no idea, it wasn't very good at all but I suppose we can take the two points, even though we don't get the two points anymore. We'll take the win anyway," Maloney laughed.
"Everything just fell into place last year but it is a different year. We're trying to do something that is pretty big and we knew nobody was going to hand it to us so we're taking a different path and that's fine.
"We should have [closed the game out]. I don't think you can argue that all, it shouldn't have got to where it got to but considering the fact that it did, it took a lot for our boys to get back into it. It's a credit to them."
With a scintillating showdown against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the preliminary final to come this Friday night at ANZ Stadium, the traditional foes are set to meet in a finals clash for the first time since the 1938.
If it gets to the point where Maloney is called upon to kick another field goal in the heat of battle against the Rabbitohs don't expect the five-eighth to shy away from the challenge.
"We can win by one or we can win by 20," Maloney said. "I wouldn't care to be honest."