James Maloney kicked an extra-time field goal to secure a 19-18 golden point win for FC Lezignan XIII in his French domestic debut to maintain the club’s winning start to the Elite One season.
The two-times NRL premiership winner with Sydney Roosters (2013) and Cronulla (2016) made his first appearance since bowing out of top-level rugby league after Catalans’ 12-10 Super League grand final loss to St Helens.
Maloney’s match winning heroics against Limoux were a repeat of his feat in September’s dramatic Magic Round defeat of St Helens to secure the League Leaders Shield for Catalans with an extra-time field goal.
Also in the Lezignan side were former Parramatta, Canterbury and Warriors centre Krisnan Inu and ex-Roosters forward Jason Baiteri.
Fellow ex-Catalans halfback Remy Marginet, fullback Cyril Stacul and prop Antoni Maria, who is the Lezignan captain, were also in the side, which has won all six of their matches so far this season.
Maloney also kicked five goals, including a penalty goal just before halftime that gave Lezignan a 12-10 lead at the break and three more penalty goals in the second half.
Limoux took the lead for the first time early in the second half, but Maloney landed two further penalty goals to put Lezignan ahead16-14.
A controversial late try to Stan Robin appeared likely to have snatched victory for Limoux but Maloney kept his nerve with a late penalty to send the game to extra time.
Just as he had done many times during his illustrious NRL playing career with the Storm, Warriors, Roosters, Sharks and Panthers, Maloney stepped up to kick the decisive field goal and secure a golden point victory for Lezignan.