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'No excuses, we need to be harder on ourselves': Maloney

Penrith drops just eight points in the win over the Wests Tigers but then concedes 54 points in the next two games – losses to the Titans and Sharks.

"It's not good is it?" said five-eighth James Maloney. "It's disappointing and frustrating."

The crazy part is that the Panthers scored 44 points themselves.

Could some of the answers be in the fact Maloney has moved back to the left edge, Viliame Kikau missed the opening three weeks, left centre Dean Whare (hamstring) is about to miss the next three to four weeks?

"It not about gelling, or injuries. We're just taking options that we shouldn't be taking," Maloney said.

"We need to be a bit harder on ourselves and work our way out of it. That's the only way we can get through it. There's no point making excuses about combinations.

"The last couple of weeks we've found enough points to win football games. Earlier on we weren't finding the points. Now we are but defensively we haven't got it done.

Match Highlights: Sharks v Panthers

"We've just got to work hard to get out of it. We're not coming up with the plays at the moment."

As for moving back to the left side, there was no big pow-wow between coach Ivan Cleary, the halves or senior players.

"We just spoke about me moving back and I did it. It's not go too much to do about anything," Maloney said.

"It's just a call that got made."

Reducing the captaincy club from six players to just James Tamou also doesn't phase Maloney.

"Being a senior bloke who's been around a bit, I'm here to guide the blokes around a bit so my job doesn't change," he said.

"I support Jimmy in everything he does."

After two away games, the Panthers host South Sydney on Friday night. It brings two talented No.6s up against each other and Maloney was full of compliments for his opposite in Cody Walker.

"He's a really natural footballer. He's got a knack of popping up and finding space, finding plays," he said.

"He's plays off the cuff because he's got really good instincts.

"Pair him up with a bloke like [hooker Damien] Cookie, who is dynamite at testing your ruck – we saw that against the Warriors – and you've got two instinctive players.

"They're not calls or plays, they are acting on natural football talents."

Another of the Panthers senior group, prop Tim Grant, knows hard work is the only cure to the 2-4 start to 2019.

Panthers prop Tim Grant.
Panthers prop Tim Grant. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"We have to play 80 minutes. It's as simple as that," Grant said.

"If you start over-analysing it you'll look away from the tiny battles throughout the game and lose track of where you've got to go.

"We need to focus on what we need to do for 80 minutes and get it done."

Facing one of his former clubs in the Rabbitohs also has a nice ring to it.

"Yep, it's the old club … although I wasn't there that long," said Grant, who was released after one year at the end of 2015.

"I've got some great mates at South Sydney. So it's always good to play your mates."

And after being let go by Ivan Cleary in 2014, Grant is now back with him. But he believes there's no better coach than Cleary and his low-key approach to help the Panthers right their ship.

"With Ivan if we win and everything is going well he doesn't get too far ahead of himself," Grant said,

"And if we lose it's not going as bad as we think either and the world's not caving in.

"Ivan is really consistent …. he's just cool, calm and collected and gets the job done."


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