Sydney Roosters will face the one that got away, James Maloney, when they meet Cronulla for the first time this NRL season on Monday and Tricolour coach Trent Robinson insists he is happy to see his former five-eighth playing well.
Maloney left the Roosters at the end of last season after the Tricolours declined to match the Sharks big money three-year deal.
The Roosters’ loss has been the Sharks’ gain as the Tricolours 2013 premiership winner has piloted Cronulla to the top of the NRL ladder courtesy of 13 successive wins.
Meanwhile, the Roosters are anchored near the bottom of the ladder and after three straight minor premierships will miss the finals this season for the first time under coach Trent Robinson.
Maloney comes up against the second-last placed Roosters for the first time at Allianz Stadium on Monday and Robinson bears no ill will towards his former playmaker.
“It is not hard to watch him go around because Jimmy is a good man,” Robinson said.
“He contributed heavily to our success and he certainly is at the Sharks at the moment
“We like seeing former players doing well, hopefully he doesn’t do well tomorrow night, but it is great to see Jimmy play the way he does.”
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said the clash with the Roosters should bring out the best in NSW half Maloney.
“They probably will target him especially verbally but I’m sure they will get their fair share back from Jimmy,” he said.
“When you play against your old club there is that extra bit of motivation. You are playing teammates you worked so hard with all those years.
“There is always that with any player and Jimmy needs to handle that.”