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15th of October 2018

Sport



Sharks plan to put a target on Maloney’s back

Cronulla have made no secret of the giant target they’ve painted on James Maloney’s back.

The Sharks have detailed their plans to bash their former premiership-winning playmaker into submission in an attempt to quieten his attacking brilliance.

“Like all halves in every game, every final, we’re going to try to get to them. He’ll be no different,” Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan said.

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“He’s one of a number of players we’ve got to put a lot of attention to.

“We know better than most what Jimmy can do on a football field.

“Those players that turn up tomorrow know what a quality player he is.”

Defence is seen as the NSW playmaker’s Achilles heel and Flanagan flagged his intention to exploit any deficiencies at Allianz Stadium.

Maloney has missed 128 tackles this year, by far the most in the competition - with Ben Hunt the next worst with 94.

According to Fox Sports Stats, he has a tackle efficiency of 62 per cent - the worst for any playmaker and the fourth worst of any player who has racked up five or more games this season.

He made less than 10 tackles in last week’s win over the Warriors and Flanagan said he should expect a lot more traffic against the Sharks.

“I’d like to think he’ll make 10 (tackles) in the first 20 minutes,” Flanagan said.

“Every half, every week sees some traffic. We tried to do the same thing last week to (Luke) Keary and (Cooper) Cronk. Whether we did it or not, we probably could have done it a bit better.”

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