Roosters invite Maloney to bring on the banter
He helped them to premiership success in 2013, but Roosters players are bracing for a ton of trash talk when they take on former teammate James Maloney this weekend.
The 30-year-old spent three successful seasons with the Tricolours, winning the minor premiership every year he was at the club, but that won't stop him from ribbing his former colleagues.
Roosters No.9 Jake Friend said he was expecting plenty of banter from the Sharks five-eighth, revealing Bondi was a much quieter place since Maloney's departure at the end of last season.
"Is he playing? That's unfortunate," Friend joked when he found out Maloney had avoided suspension for a high shot from the game against South Sydney on Monday night.
"Jimmy is playing really well and it's always good to see mates play well. But if he has a shocker this weekend then that'll be fine.
"There's always [a bit of lip] with Jimmy. I'm sure there will be plenty of stick out there.
"He didn't [shut up] here so I couldn't imagine him changing down there."
Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner spent a number of years running lines off Maloney at club and Origin level, but is instead expecting one-liners of a different kind this time around.
"I've always been on his team hearing him sledging other players so I might be copping a bit myself," Cordner said.
"He was over the other side of the field [when we played in Round 19] so I didn't cross paths with him too much. If he does get the chance then I'm sure he'll go out of his way to try to do a few sledges to the boys."
With the Sharks currently on a three-game losing streak, Maloney probably hasn't had too many chances to engage in on-field banter, but the Roosters are bracing for a fired-up Cronulla outfit this weekend.
Saturday night will be their last game at Southern Cross Group Stadium this year, and Friend said he was expecting the Sharks to lift at the venue where they are 10-1 in 2016.
Having been the hunted for so long, Friend wasn't surprised to see other teams lift a notch against the Sharks and said it came with the territory of being at the top of the ladder.
"They're obviously a quality team, and they've showed that all year," the Roosters skipper said.
"I think being on the top of the ladder [means] teams will come after you. I think every team turns up to play and I think the last few weeks that's been the case."
Cordner said that although they weren't winning, Cronulla's recent form was still cause for concern.
"They're still a great team. I thought they played really well against the Bunnies," Cordner said.
"For a side that won 15 in a row, you can't count them out. They're still the form team in the comp, and although they've lost a few, they're still very dangerous."
Game on. Data off.
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