Maloney excited by Cleary combination

Murray Wenzel

Penrith recruit James Maloney is reluctant to start the State of Origin hype early, but sees no reason why he and young halves partner Nathan Cleary can't do the job for NSW.

Maloney left Cronulla for the Panthers in a high-profile swap with former Penrith skipper Matt Moylan late last year.

A veteran of nine Origins and a member of Australia's recent Rugby League World Cup campaign, Maloney says he will embrace his senior role at the Panthers and help Cleary take his game to another level.