The Matt Moylan saga at Penrith is over, with the Panthers understood to have lodged paperwork to the NRL for approval of James Maloney’s three-year deal.
NRL.com has been told the deal was finalised on Thursday but still needs to be rubberstamped by the governing body, including a third party arrangement, bringing to end almost two months of intense speculation over Moylan’s future at the club.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald a month ago, the Panthers wanted to engage in a swap deal with Cronulla that would result in Moylan and Maloney trading places in the off-season.
Cronulla are set to land Moylan on a four-year deal worth $3.6 million.
The Panthers had been manoeuvring behind the scenes trying to get Maloney to the foot of the Blue Mountains before striking a deal worth close to $2.4 million over three years.
Maloney, who left Kangaroos camp on the Thursday night – 24 hours before a World Cup meeting with France - to deal with an unrelated private matter, has been open to the idea of getting an improved deal for 2018.
Maloney had one year to run on his deal with the Sharks, however Moylan had another four at Penrith.
Panthers general manager Phil Gould had been trying to keep Moylan at the club, however it became painstakingly clear the skipper wanted out.
Moylan is close friends with Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham and James Segeyaro, making the move to Cronulla more appealing.
Maloney has a carefree approach and is known as a larrikin character, but he has a solid record of success at the Warriors, Roosters and Sharks.
Penrith were desperate for an experienced playmaker to partner Nathan Cleary in the halves as he continues his development, especially after rookie five-eighth Tyrone May suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear in the finals and is expected to miss the start of next season.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Penrith had lodged James Maloney's contract with the NRL when the Panthers had only submitted paperwork for the approval of third-party arrangements for the deal.