Penrith Panthers coach Anthony Griffin has come to the defence of New South Wales halves candidate James Maloney after his side’s 16-2 win over Wests Tigers on Thursday night.
Maloney has come under fire as he leads the NRL for missed tackles despite being the form half of the premiership in attack.
“He’s obviously been involved in a few tries that we’ve let in so far this year but as you seen tonight, we worked really hard on our defence and he’s worked hard on his defence,” Griffin said.
“He’s doing his job from my point of view. Obviously every player’s got areas they need to improve, but on the whole he’s done a terrific job for us.
“All halves go through that. At some stage they get a lot of traffic run at them, they’re little men. Sometimes they don’t make their first-up tackles. But I wouldn’t swap him for anyone.”
It was reported earlier in the week that Blues coach Brad Fittler could be considering leaving Maloney out of his State of Origin I side which was then confirmed by Blues selection advisor Greg Alexander.
“He’s struggling defensively and I know Freddy sees that as a pretty important component of what his halves are able to do in this Origin series,” Alexander told Fox Sports.
“I just think it’s about attitude and decision making and hopefully Jimmy can come up with the right ones because he’s shown that he’s suited to Origin footy.
“I suspect that we’ll pick this side on form, it’s a chance for a pretty fresh start.”
Amazingly, despite struggling at the 16th place Parramatta Eels, polarizing playmaker Mitch Moses could be an option according to reports. Fans on social media have already aired their displeasure.