James Maloney has really taken to life in France. The former State of Origin winner and two-time NRL Champion starred for Catalans over the last two seasons and is about to begin a new venture in France’s Elite One competition.
The stand-off arrived at Catalans in 2020 after a spell with Penrith – one of the few sides he failed to guide to the NRL Grand Final having led New Zealand Warriors, Sydney and Cronulla to the decider – and promised big things in the south of France.
In 2020, Maloney proved to be the missing piece for the Dragons taking them to the top four and at the time their joint second highest finish in the competition. Then in 2021, the organiser brought the best out of the likes of Josh Drinkwater, Sam Tomkins and Arthur Mourgue taking the Dragons to top spot for the first time before helping the French outfit to an inaugural Grand Final only for Catalans to come up two points short against St Helens.
That was his last game as a Dragon with him confirming his departure with many believing that he was set to retire only for him to then announce that he’d be joining French Elite One Champions Lezignan and is set to make his debut for them this weekend as they take on Limouxin away on the back of five consecutive wins.
According to the squad released by Lezignan, he’s also set to be joined by Krisnan Inu. The 2019 Super League Grand Finalist and 2020 Challenge Cup Finalist has also joined Lezignan after leaving behind Salford Red Devils following three impressive seasons with the side helping the club to major success under Ian Watson.
The duo will be hoping to propel Lezignan to further success in 2021-22.
They’re not the only two who have taken up an opportunity in France with former Leigh and Huddersfield hooker Nathan Peats also leaving for France yesterday.