Penrith coach Anthony Griffin has praised James Maloney for stepping up and taking control of the team in the absence of Nathan Cleary.
Maloney produced a man of the match performance in the Panthers’ upset 33-14 win over the Cowboys in Townsville night.
“He controlled the game brilliantly,” Griffin said of Maloney.
“He’s an experienced playmaker and that’s why he’s been brought here, to give us that type of direction. He really did a good job tonight.
“He could just get in and do most of the kicking and direct the play and he did a great job for us.”
Griffin said he was impressed with his side’s preparation for the game despite the obvious cloud hanging over them with Cleary’s injury.
“It was a great performance by the whole club. Our staff, the players… we were disappointed with last Friday night and we’ve had our injury problems so to come up here and play like that was a real reward for everyone,” he said.
“Our main focus was ourselves. The Cowboys are always hard to beat up here… early in the week it was just getting our team right. You could sort of sense today we were good to go.”
Cowboys coach Paul Green said he was disappointed with the loss but credited his side’s performance.
“I wasn’t happy with it but I saw a definite improvement in the areas that I asked,” he said.
“They pressured us pretty well… we lacked a bit of composure.”