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Coach Jimmy? Retiring Maloney plots his next career move

“It made me start thinking about things. I love playing games, I love game day, but the training is a bit the same, and my head isn’t in it.

“The moment I decided to retire I haven’t thought about it again, I haven’t second-guessed myself, which tells me it was the right call.

“Coaching beats the hell out of joining the real world. I’ll try to stay in the footy bubble and pretend it’s the real world.”

James Maloney

“I want to go into coaching when I get back, but I’m not in a rush to get back.

“I’ll stay over here for a year or two. The family are enjoying the experience. To travel Europe and show the four kids, it’s an unbelievable opportunity.

“Head coaching would be too much stress. Assistant coaching would be all right.

“When I was at Penrith I realised I would enjoy getting into coaching, the young kids would look to you for advice, and then you’d get a kick out of watching what they do. It’s been the same here with the young French kids.

James Maloney realised he wanted to get into coaching while at the Panthers.

James Maloney realised he wanted to get into coaching while at the Panthers.Credit:NRL Photos

“Coaching beats the hell out of joining the real world. I’ll try to stay in the footy bubble and pretend it’s the real world.”

Maloney said it was common for players in France to join the domestic competition after retiring from Super League, to help ease them out of professional sporting life.

“Playing in the local competition is an option, and that way you’re weaning yourself off rugby league rather than going from playing to nothing,” he said.

“And the French comp plays through the winter here, so you get summers off. That way you can travel Europe in the summer. That would hardly be a struggle.”

Told he could potentially pitch up to be Trent Robinson’s assistant with France for next year’s World Cup, Maloney quipped: “Maybe. Or maybe I could be his assistant at the Roosters in a couple of years.”

Maloney has always been one of the game’s larrikins. He once famously tried to convince his wife Jess to redraw $100,000 on their mortgage so he could back champion mare Winx.

He won the 2013 title with the Roosters, then another premiership three years later with Cronulla, and said he now wanted to help Catalans win the Super League, especially for owner Bernard Guasch.

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Guasch made sure the Catalans players hardly missed a pay cheque during COVID, and Maloney went as far to say no other league players in the world had been looked after so well.

“What Bernard has done has been extraordinary, he’s been unbelievable for myself and the boys, and the best way to repay him is with a championship,” Maloney said.

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