JAMES MALONEY has revealed he joined the Warriors as a last option only because he thought it was his final hope of making it in the NRL, but now the five-eighth is considering staying beyond next season, when his contract expires.
Maloney, who previously had a stint with Parramatta, was playing behind Cooper Cronk and Brett Finch at Melbourne in 2009 when his manager Wayne Beavis phoned to tell him the Warriors were interested in signing him.
The 25-year-old's response was to tell Beavis he would move to Auckland only if he had to and would prefer to play for any other NRL club.
''I was sort of reluctant,'' Maloney said. ''It was a club I always said I'd never go to.''
Asked why he was so opposed to the move, Maloney - one of four Australians in the Warriors grand final side - explained it had nothing to do with the club but had more to do with having to shift overseas.
''I suppose it wasn't based on anything much other than not knowing anything about it and obviously the travel every two weeks and all that sort of stuff,'' he said. ''But since I got over there I have loved it. Everything has turned to gold for me over there, and I wouldn't change anything. It has been home for two years and it will be home for another one - at least.''
But, along with Cronk, Maloney is set to be one of the most sought-after players in the NRL when he comes off contract next season and he has received several approaches this year from rival clubs, believed to include South Sydney and the Eels, before the Warriors took up a 12-month option on his services.
''I obviously don't want to look too much into [it] now,'' he said. ''There is too much going on but in the off-season I will catch up with Wayne Beavis and we'll sit down and look at what is best for us going forward. But I am definitely there next year and enjoying my time there, so, we will see what happens after that.''