Roosters' Maloney is 'Prince of Auckland'
In a Roosters side featuring three former Warriors, five-eighth James Maloney made sure he caught the ire of most New Zealand fans come full time on Saturday night.
Returning to face the club where he spent three seasons between 2010-12, Maloney delivered the killer blows late in the match as the Roosters defeated the Warriors 25-21 at Mt Smart Stadium.
A try on 72 minutes where he sliced through a tiring Warriors' line, followed by a clutch field goal three minutes later, set the Roosters up for a final-minute game winner which Blake Ferguson finished in the right corner.
Speaking after the match coach Trent Robinson hailed Maloney's composure on the night, which was particularly impressive given regular halves partner Mitchell Pearce was out on Origin duty.
"Jimmy loves it here, he really loved his time here and really valued it," Robinson said.
"I think he called himself the Prince of Auckland or something like that today.
"He likes coming back here, it was a home to him, he raised some of his kids here and they were born here. You get an affiliation with the city and the field.
"He played his game tonight. I thought Jackson Hastings filled that role really well so Jimmy could just play his role.
"Then [Maloney] stepped up to win the game for us with the show-and-go and then the drop goal.
"Jimmy is always composed but it was nice for him to finish it off tonight."
In a match where the Roosters kicked for just 305 metres - compared to their opposition's 510 - Maloney and 19-year-old halves partner Hastings struggled to set their side up with good field position through the first half.
That led to the Warriors dominating possession and racing out to a 14-0 lead, and according to Robinson was the key area that changed for his side in their second-half comeback.
"Field position… our defence was really good and it was just field position [in the first half]," he said.
"We were probably kicking poorly, we didn’t kick into good spots at the end of our sets and they just won the field position battle there.
"But [we] stayed on task about the way we wanted to play tonight and the way we were going about things."
Winger Daniel Tupou, turning out for the Roosters after being cut from the NSW team for Origin II, was full of praise for Maloney, even if he wasn't convinced about his self-appointed nickname.
"The Prince of Auckland? I don't think the Warriors' fans would be happy with that," Tupou told NRL.com.
"But yeah Jimmy played well, big ups to him, he dug deep.
"Obviously he loves playing against his old team and that's when he reaches his potential; obviously that paid off tonight.
"He struggled [with kicking] as everyone could see during the game, but we just stuck to our composure and we had to hold the ball and keep them down their end.
"He definitely [stood up] tonight and after the win he was heaps proud and saying that he loves getting the win here."