NRL 1 year ago

Big-game NRL losses still hurt Maloney

  • Big-game NRL losses still hurt Maloney

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Wade Graham and James Maloney of the Sharks celebrates victory during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the Cronulla Sharks at GIO Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

James Maloney has seen the good and the bad of preliminary finals.

As the star Cronulla playmaker prepares to play off for a spot in the NRL grand final for the fourth straight year, he feels the losses more keenly than the wins.

After three successive preliminary finals with Sydney Roosters, Maloney shapes as key to Cronulla's hopes of progressing through to the grand final with a win over North Queensland at Allianz Stadium on Friday.

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In 2013 Maloney won the NRL premiership with the Roosters, but the past two years ended in heartbreak.

"You just understand how bad it feels to get knocked out at a game like this," Maloney said.

"We have put ourselves in a really good position. We have put a lot of expectations on ourselves. If we were to bow out this week, then it ends in a lot of disappointment.

"You only get so many opportunities in sides to do something special and it sucks to not take advantage of it."

Maloney said the lesson he has taken from these big games was the hurt losses can bring.

"I still look back at the Roosters sides we had, we only managed to win it one out of the three years and I reckon we should have got at least one of the other two. That still hurts," he said.

"We have enough older guys here (at Cronulla) that have played enough footy and they realise how rare it is.

"It is making sure the younger guys are aware of that.

"It is easy for them to come into a successful side and think it just happens but you have to realise it doesn't.

"You need to make sure you take your opportunities."

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