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Maloney leaving NRL to play in France


James Maloney will have his sights on a fitting grand final farewell after confirming he'll leave the NRL at the end of the season to finish his stellar career in Super League.

Penrith on Wednesday confirmed the 33-year-old NSW State of Origin playmaker has been granted a release from the final year of his NRL contract.

It's understood that Maloney has agreed a three-year deal with France-based Catalans Dragons.

It will draw the curtain on a celebrated NRL career spanning 11 seasons across five clubs - Melbourne, Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Cronulla and Penrith - with three grand final appearances and two titles - 2013 (Roosters) and 2016 (Sharks).

"James has made no secret of his sincere desire to finish his rugby league career with a stint in the Super League," said Panthers chairman Dave O'Neill.

"Considering the outstanding service he has given to Panthers over the last two seasons and to our game over the last decade, we believe he has earned that right.

"The overseas opportunity recently offered to James, his wife Jess, and their young family is one they are genuinely excited about pursuing together.

"When we farewell James at the end of the season, we will do so knowing he has made an incredibly positive impact on our club and the next generation of players who will carry it forward."

The Panthers will celebrate Maloney's achievements at the final home game of the regular season on Sunday, September 8.

However they will hope Maloney can lead them well beyond that and deep into the finals series, with the team on a seven-match winning streak that has lifted them to seventh on the ladder.

© AAP 2019