Penrith five-eighth James Maloney has refused to rule out signing with an English Super League club next season but insists he won’t leave the Panthers stranded.
Maloney isn’t off-contract until the end of the 2020 season but Panthers officials are open to the veteran playmaker departing earlier.
The prospect of the NSW Origin incumbent joining the Super League ahead of schedule was first floated by former general manager of football Phil Gould at a club board meeting last year.
Gould, in conjunction with the half’s management, suggested it would be perfect timing for the ex-Warrior, Shark and Rooster to go to England in the last year of his contract.
Asked about The Daily story at training on Wednesday, Maloney kept the door open for a potential move to England at season’s end.
“If options were thrown at me, then I suppose it is something that I’ve got to consider,” Maloney said.
“In terms of whether those options will be there in another year — that is all stuff that you’d consider.
“But I wouldn’t leave this club in a situation where I jumped ship. I’d never do anything like that but at the moment I haven’t heard anything about it.
“I’ve always been pretty open that my intention would be to go to Penrith when my contract is finished.
“But I haven’t spoken to anyone about trying to get out early or anything like that.”
Now Gould has left Penrith, the Panthers will look to resume talks with Maloney and his management about a potential England exit.
However, the club understands, and respects, if the 32-year-old decides to honour the final season of his contract next season.
In the meantime Maloney is focused on saving Penrith’s season following a number of substandard results.
He believes the key to finding form will be coming together as a team, especially mentally.
“I think the hardest thing is to find out where people’s heads are at,” he said.
“There are a lot of different personalities and everyone takes it a different way but winning is contagious and so is losing.
“But as soon as you get 17 blokes with the attitude that enough is enough, then it will change.”
Maloney’s hopes of retaining the NSW No.6 jumper for Origin I in Brisbane on June 5 are in doubt due to form but he believes he’d excel if given the opportunity.
“I’ve got no doubt about that but that isn’t my call,” he said.
“I don’t think too much about it because I’ve got too much going on here that needs to get sorted.
“In all honesty that is where my head is at but I don’t doubt for a second that I wouldn’t do the job.”