NRL veteran James Maloney announced he has inked a three-year contract with the Catalans Dragons on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old was given the green light by the club to explore options overseas earlier in the year. His contract with Penrith was due to expire at the end of next season.
Maloney has agreed to a three-year deal with the successful French club, who play in the English Super League, and it will likely be his final rugby league contract.
It was reported that Maloney would have been welcome to stay at Penrith in 2020, with roster changes in recent months allowing salary cap space for the veteran half.
However, the veteran half, who has enjoyed time at the Storm, Warriors, Roosters, Sharks and Panthers across a 241-game career, is thought to want to take his family overseas, and departing for the south of France at the end of 2019 has wound up the option.
Panthers chairman Dave O’Neill said Maloney’s blessings had been granted after a great NRL career.
“James has made no secret of his sincere desire to finish his rugby league career with a stint in the Super League,” O’Neill said.
“Considering the outstanding service he has given to Panthers over the last two seasons and to our game over the last decade, we believe he has earned that right.
“The overseas opportunity recently offered to James, his wife Jess, and their young family is one they are genuinely excited about pursuing together.
“When we farewell James at the end of the season, we will do so knowing he has made an incredibly positive impact on our club and the next generation of players who will carry it forward.”
Despite his age, Maloney has been in excellent form recently, playing a leading role in the Panthers’ mid-season resurgence and helping guide the New South Wales Blues to their second straight Origin series victory.
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