Last sighted in the sky blue of New South Wales in Game III of 2013, Sharks five-eighth James Maloney has made his Blues ambitions clear ahead of the 2016 Origin series getting underway in under a fortnight’s time.
Playing in a NSW side that went down to the wrath and might of a rampant Maroons outfit, Maloney says a hunger burns deep to regain his Blues jersey – and also, the Origin shield.
With Blues Coach Laurie Daley to pick his Origin side at the completion of Round 11, Maloney said he hopes to earn a call back into the camp, despite having not heard from Daley upon his Blues exit.
“I didn’t speak with him, it just panned out that way,” Maloney said.
“I don’t think I needed an explanation (for non-selection in 2014) … It just was what it was.
“We didn’t get the job done in 2013, so to think you’ve got a right to get that jersey the next year, it’s the wrong attitude.
Buoyed by his early-season form in 2016, Maloney has every confidence that he’ll make a Blues return when the series kicks off on June 1.
With many suggesting the Sharks number 6 has already secured his place in Daley’s side to be named – not least the Coach himself – Maloney said he holds no ill-feelings towards the Blues mentor who opted for Trent Hodkinson at five-eighth in 2014.
“There wasn’t any hard feelings from me, I probably started (2014) a bit slow,” he said.
“If I got the opportunity to go back there … you don’t want to have your one crack there and not win the series.
“If the opportunity did come up, there’d be a bit of hunger there to change the result.”
The 29-year-old paid credit to the work of his team mates – and specifically those he joins in the Sharks ‘spine’ – in having his name once more in discussions around Origin selection.
“I’m still looking to build combinations there with Chaddy (Townsend) and obviously Benny (Barba), and Michael (Ennis) … We’re happy with how it’s going, but there’s still going to be improvement throughout the year,” he said.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
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