You've got to be playing finals footy - Maloney eyes play-offs with Catalans

Having moved from Penrith Panthers to Catalans Dragons, James Maloney is eyeing a place in Super League's play-offs at the very least.
Having moved from Penrith Panthers to Catalans Dragons, James Maloney is eyeing a place in Super League's play-offs at the very least.

James Maloney says a place in the Super League play-offs must be the minimum target for Catalans Dragons in 2020.

Having moved to Perpignan from NRL side Penrith Panthers, half-back Maloney is among the favourites for Super League's Man of Steel award this year.

However, the 33-year-old is far from the only big name in a star-studded squad that also features the likes of Sam and Joel Tomkins, Sam Kasiano, David Mead, Sam Moa and controversial new signing Israel Folau.

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Asked what would represent a successful season for the Dragons, Maloney told Omnisport: "Oh, you've got to be playing finals footy, for sure.

"I suppose like anything back in Australia, you play your season and then when the finals come it's pretty much a new competition, you've got to be there on the day. I think you want to be playing in some big matches ... and we've got some work to do there but hopefully that's the case."

Maloney said Catalans head coach Steve McNamara, who he previously worked with at Sydney Roosters, was a huge factor in his decision to join the Dragons.

"I learned quite a bit off him when he was at the Roosters. I really enjoyed playing under him, so that was a pretty easy decision," revealed Maloney.

"I literally got a call one morning from Mac out of the blue and he just said, 'Would you be interested in coming?' I said, 'Mate, I need Penrith to let me go first.'

"So I said, 'I'll go and have a conversation with Penrith and see where they're at.' And then after that conversation with Mac I just got really excited about the opportunity. Everything was just telling me that it was the right time and Penrith were really good.

"They were happy to let me go and not stand in my way, so it worked out nice."

Discussing his initial impressions of his new home in the south of France, the Australian added: "Ah, it's great, obviously. Everyone keeps telling me to wait until summer, it just comes alive even more, but we're really enjoying it.

"We knew people that have been here or had experiences over here, they all say, 'Catalans, that lifestyle is outstanding.'

"That's brilliant, being able to live in such a beautiful part of the world, but you've got to make sure you don't lose sight of why you're here as well and that's to play footy and have success.

"I didn't want to come and be in a side that wasn't strong. I think we've got a side that can be competitive at Catalans so hopefully it can all go in the right direction and we can have some success."

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