NRL: Maloney sights set on Origin

James Maloney will use the City-Country clash to stake his claim. Photo / Getty Images
James Maloney will use the City-Country clash to stake his claim. Photo / Getty Images

Try telling James Maloney that Sunday's City-Country league clash doesn't mean anything.

The Country pivot says he is desperate to take every chance he gets as he pushes his case for a New South Wales Origin jumper, with the Coffs Harbour clash with City the next step in the road to his final goal.

While an injury to City five-eighth Josh Reynolds has robbed former New Zealand Warrior Maloney of the chance to go head-to-head with one of his main challengers for a berth in that NSW side for Origin I on June 5, the Sydney Roosters playmaker will be anything but half-hearted as he makes his debut in the annual selection trial.

"It's a great opportunity I've been given," said Maloney, who is locked in a battle with Reynolds and incumbent Todd Carney for the Blues No 6 jersey. "I've got a pretty big step up on Sunday against some pretty talented footballers - it'll be a challenge."

While the City side was ravaged by withdrawals, Maloney said he wasn't about to pass up the opportunity.

"It would have taken a lot to get me out of here," he said. "Everyone's in a different situation, whether it's they are carrying injuries or what their opportunities are.

"For me and the stage of my career that I'm at it's pretty important to me and that's how I'm treating it."

Aiding Maloney's NSW ambition is the fact he plays his club football alongside Mitchell Pearce, the man NSW coach Laurie Daley has already stated is his No 1 option at half-back.

Pearce was unavailable for City selection due to a calf injury, but it is clear Maloney was desperate to make the step up into Origin foot-ball alongside his Roosters teammate.

Asked if their club combination would help at the NSW selection table, Maloney said: "You'd hope so, anything I can get in my favour is a bonus.

"He was a big reason for why I chose to come back to the Roosters. I'm enjoying that we get on really well and just enjoying playing football with him."

- AAP

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