James Maloney and Matt Moylan in action.
James Maloney and Matt Moylan in action.

Clubs in Maloney, Moylan swap deal

CRONULLA and Kangaroos half James Maloney and unsettled Penrith skipper Matt Moylan are on the verge of a shock $6 million player swap for next season.

The moves will have a massive impact on the player transfer market with Gold Coast Titans star Jarryd Hayne seeking a return to Parramatta, Mitchell Pearce ready to quit the Sydney Roosters following Cooper Cronk's signing and Manly five-eighth Blake Green still looking to take up a three-year deal with the New Zealand Warriors.

There are still several contract and salary cap issues to be resolved before the Moylan and Maloney deals can be finalised but insiders hope an announcement can be made as early as Monday.

James Maloney is set to join the Panthers. Picture: Zak Simmonds
James Maloney is set to join the Panthers. Picture: Zak Simmonds

The Daily Telegraph understands Moylan could link with the Sharks on a four-year, $3.6 million deal, while Maloney would make Penrith his sixth NRL club in a three-year, $2.5 million move.

On Friday night, Maloney, 31, will play halfback for Australia in their World Cup match against France at Canberra Stadium.

But he looks like making the foot of the Blue Mountains home once the tournament ends as Penrith look to secure something in return for the loss of local junior Moylan.

The 26-year-old, who is contracted until the end of 2020, has been unhappy at the Panthers for the past six months after struggling to get along with coach Anthony Griffin.

Matt Moylan hasn’t been happy at the Panthers and is set to join the Sharks. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Matt Moylan hasn’t been happy at the Panthers and is set to join the Sharks. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Penrith officials have denied a rift exists between player and coach but Moylan was stood down from the Panthers' finals campaign to deal with personal issues amid talk he was unhappy.

It's believed he wants to play in the halves next season at Cronulla.

Penrith were believed to be asking for a transfer fee of around $250,000 for rival clubs to sign Moylan, but they could now waive that if they were to sign Maloney.

The NSW State of Origin five-eighth is seeking a pay increase from his existing Sharks deal, which has another year to run.

A key factor in Moylan's decision would be to play alongside Cronulla star Andrew Fifita. Moylan and Fifita have been close mates since their childhood in Sydney's west.

Just last week, The Daily Telegraph was given assurances Moylan would be staying at the Panthers, with both parties happy to move on together. That landscape appears to have changed.

Even in September, Penrith officials only rated Moylan a "50/50" chance of remaining at the club for 2018.

Moylan's manager, Allan Gainey, was not returning calls on Thursday.

Former player agent Wayne Beavis still manages Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and Panthers general manager of football Phil Gould.

Cronulla's tentative interest in Pearce could now wane should the club secure Moylan, which would leave Manly as his first-choice club should he quit the Roosters.



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