Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards will undergo ankle surgery on Thursday, ruling him out at least the first five rounds of the NRL season.
James Maloney has declared his intention to see out the final two years of his Penrith contract amidst persistent rumours he will head to the English Super League at the end of the 2019 season.
Maloney, who turns 34 in June, has made no secret of his desire to head to England when his current NRL deal expires in 2020.
Over the summer the rugby league rumour mill suggested he will be there from next year but the man himself says he intends to stay put in Sydney’s west for the next two seasons before seeking a career swan song in the UK.
“I’ve made it clear that I’ll go over there and that’s probably where it stems from,” Maloney told AAP.
“I’ve been pretty open and that’s my intention once I finish here at Penrith.
“But I don’t think it will be next year.”
Maloney is undoubtedly one of the great winners of the last decade and has brought success to every club he has played at.
He took the Warriors to the grand final in 2011, the Sydney Roosters to a premiership in his first year there in 2013 and helped break Cronulla’s title drought in 2016.
Over the last nine years, Maloney sides have played finals on eight occasions.
However the champion No.6’s body has shown signs of wear and tear and he last year battled through knee and neck injuries which hampered his back end of the year.
“I haven’t (signed) anything. I’ve got another year here,” Maloney said.
“The club wants me here, as far as I know. It’s all paper talk, there’s not much there.”
Despite being the incumbent Blues half and being part of a winning series last year, Maloney is under pressure to retain his NSW Origin jumper from the likes of Luke Keary and Mitchell Pearce.
He and former teammate Pearce will face off in a head to head battle when the Panthers look to rebound against Newcastle on Saturday.
“They’re a side on the up so we’ll have to be pretty good,” Maloney said following the Panthers’ loss to Parramatta on Sunday.
“They’ve got plenty of dangerous players. We’ll do a little bit on them but I think most of the focus will be on some of the improvements we need to make from our game.”