Maloney to pick up Junior's slack
Knowing full well the impact State of Origin can have on an individual towards the backend of the season, Roosters five-eighth James Maloney says he plans on taking on an extra bit of the workload in the halves from partner Mitchell Pearce when the premiership favourites face the Panthers on Saturday afternoon.
Having played three Origins for the Blues himself in 2013, Maloney knows exactly how much energy the fast-paced series can take out of a man. Though the 29-year-old isn't exactly worried either considering how energetic the Tricolours captain has been throughout the season.
With Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra and Michael Jennings also set to back up after playing all three Origins, Maloney added it was a matter of the whole team lifting for their returning stars.
"He doesn't have too many down days old Junior, he's always bouncing around which is great to see. It's awesome he's been playing really well at Origin which always helps, and no doubt he'll go through a little bit of a flat period getting over the three games, but he'll right," Maloney said.
"We have played enough footy together now to sort of pick up where we left off so I don't think it will impact me too much. I'll try and take a little bit of the workload off him this weekend but other than that it's all the same.
"Obviously to back up is tough on everyone that has to do it too. All of us other boys are planning to make it a little bit easier for them. It'll be a cold night at the foot of the mountains so we'll have to get ready for that with them being a strong side."
While the Roosters have won their past three games, they have been far from their best.
Failing to reach any great heights in their wins over the Warriors, Dragons and Gold Coast, Maloney – in his last season at the club before he departs to the Cronulla Sharks in 2016 – was well aware the Roosters have to continue to build if they are a shot of winning their second premiership in three seasons.
"It has taken a lot of work to build back into a good position. There's still plenty to do but you can't fault where we're at though, we'll still need to build for that back end of the season," Maloney said.
"If we play the same footy we are now then we're no chance, we still have to progress over the remaining games. There is plenty of drive there.
"Obviously it's my last opportunity to play with this bunch of boys, who I really love, and I'm playing for a club who I've loved for the past three years. It would be lovely to go out on a high note but it won't come easy."
Meanwhile, Maloney has applauded the Sharks for signing Warriors half Chad Townsend for next season and beyond – who will no doubt partner Maloney in the halves.
"I think he's been performing really well over there at the Warriors," Maloney said. "It's a good signing and I'm looking forward to it."