He is coming off the back of a brilliant debut season with the Warriors, and Maloney, 24, is looking to repeat his fine efforts of 2010, that saw him regarded as one of the games most under-rated halves.

As Maloney resumes his partnership with the Warriors halfback from 2010 in Brett Seymour, Maloney knows the opposition that he faces with new recruit Feleti Mateo more than capable of playing in the halves if need be.

It is not just Mateo breathing down his neck though, with several boom youngsters also looking to pounce if an injury was to occur, or if poor form played a part.

“You’ve got Isaac John and a lot of other young blokes that can definitely play there,” he said.

“I’ve got to play good footy to keep that spot. I’m under no illusions about that.”

Consistent performances for the Warriors saw him selected as a part of the Prime Ministers XIII and he was shortlisted for the Rugby League International Federation Awards.

“Everything went really well last year and I just thoroughly enjoyed playing regularly with the boys,” he said.

“Towards the end, getting the PM’s gig was a bit of a surprise.

“This year, I’m trying to step up again and improve on that – just the basic stuff, just doing things a little different or a little bit better.”

Despite second year syndrome seemingly affecting so many players, Maloney is not buying into that, as he feels as good and as strong as he ever has.

“I’m feeling good and really keen to get out there this weekend and put on a good performance first-up,” he said.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of talk about second-year syndrome … but I’m not fazed about it.”

Perhaps something that the Warriors are not used to however, is being listed as a favourite to take out the NRL title by the bookmakers, so living up to the hype will be the challenge.

“We’ll take it week by week, but definitely coming toward the end of the season, we would be looking for the finals and hopefully progress a bit further,” Maloney said.

“We’ve got a lot of depth this year, a lot of blokes vying for positions, which should make for a very competitive environment.”

By ricky

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