Sharks skipper Paul Gallen has taken a huge swipe at his former teammate James Maloney, saying his application in 2017 “wasn’t good enough”.
Ahead of the pair’s high-profile meeting in week two of the finals this weekend, Gallen took aim at the current Panthers star, saying he “wasn’t there mentally” last year.
“The season Jimmy Maloney had in 2016 (when the Sharks won the premiership) was dynamite, he was unbelievable for us. What he did in 2017 for us, in my opinion for the club it wasn’t good enough,” Gallen said on Channel 9.
“He just wasn’t there mentally from very early on in the season and it reflected in his performances.
“This is a business and you’ve got to make a business decision and he did. He wanted to move on, he wanted a long-term contract and more money.
“The Sharks weren’t willing to give him that so he had to go, he found that at Penrith, obviously there was issues with (Matt) Moylan there so it was the perfect swap.”
Gallen’s swipe at Maloney seems surprising, given the pair won a premiership together just two years ago, but the former representative forward hasn’t been shy at taking down former teammates in recent times.
Gallen also took aim at former Shark Jack Bird recently, saying he had a problem with the way Bird only wanted to play lock or in the halves, not where the team needed him most.
However Gal wasn’t all negative towards Maloney, accepting the cheeky five-eighth had been superb with the Panthers.
“Jimmy has been unbelievable for Penrith. Jimmy has done things at Penrith that I’m really happy that he’s done,” Gallen said.
“I’ve played with Jimmy, he’s got one of the best minds I’ve ever seen in the game, but he’s also a pest, he’s a pain in the backside, he can be a coach’s nightmare.”