James Maloney will bring down the curtain on his NRL career on Sunday. Picture: Getty
James Maloney will bring down the curtain on his NRL career on Sunday. Picture: Getty

Departing Maloney’s bleak Penrith prediction

LOOK away Penrith fans, your five-year plan that is nine years in is about to stretch out even further.

Departing playmaker James Maloney conceded "there is a bit to do" before a title is delivered to the foot of the mountains.

Maloney said an NRL premiership is achievable for the Panthers but it would not happen until the side addressed the lack of consistency displayed this season, which has cost them a finals berth.

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"In terms of the inconsistency we had this year, there's still a little bit to go. But there is nothing to say that can't happen reasonably quickly. I don't know why this club is the only one that seems to have a time frame," he said.

"There's plenty of other clubs that haven't won competition dating back further than the last time Penrith has won one.

"It's everyone's goal but there can only be one winner every year unfortunately.

"It's not out of reach but there is a bit to do."

Former Penrith supremo Phil Gould famously claimed the club would fine a title within five years back in 2011.

Maloney believes the Panthers have some concerns. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
Maloney believes the Panthers have some concerns. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

While the Panthers are still vying for that elusive title, their first since 2003, Maloney believes Gould's time at club has left it in the strongest position it has ever been.

"I think it's in a strong position. Penrith should always be in a strong position. They're obviously financially stable now, which has all been set up. They have such a junior nursery, you keep seeing these young kids come through," he said.

"They have the pathway to bring these kids through down pat so there should be a constant flow of talent coming through. There should be no excuse for Penrith to not to be a strong club year after year."

The western Sydney side came into season 2019 as one of the competition's genuine title contenders.

But their pre-season preparations were derailed after the club was embroiled in a sex tape scandal.

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Sunday's game against Newcastle at Panthers Stadium is Maloney's last game in the NRL and he admits it's not the farewell the two-time premiership winner anticipated.

"You always want to go really well. I wanted to come out here to hopefully to win a competition again and that hasn't happened. It was disappointing not to be playing finals but we put ourselves in this situation," he said.

After 11 seasons in the NRL and 246 games, Maloney will play out the rest of his career with Catalans Dragons in the English Super League. And there's one thing he won't miss about the NRL, the brutality.

"I really enjoyed the competition every week. I'm a really competitive person and I love the challenge. I'm looking forward to it being less taxing on the body. I'm a bit older now and every year you start to feel it a little bit more. But I've had an awesome time and I have loved every minute it. I'm pretty lucky to have been able to do it as long as I have," he said.