Unless he can successfully contest the charge at the judiciary, he will miss the western Sydney derby against Parramatta on Thursday and will not play before NSW coach Brad Fittler reads out his side for Origin I on Sunday week.
Penrith have gone from genuine top-four heavyweights to shock contenders for the most-dreaded gong in the game. They have not dropped six straight games since 2002. Their last spoon was 2007.
It is only round ten but their chances of the coming last are not as crazy as you think given Penrith’s next month features a road trip down the M4 Motorway to play Parramatta on Thursday night at their new $360 million Bankwest Stadium fortress, a Des Hasler-rejuvenated Manly, the Roosters and then South Sydney.
Potentially the Sea Eagles, without their Origin stars Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans, appear the only chance for two points.
Some bookies now have Penrith $5.50 to run stone motherless.
Maloney has missed a finals series just once in his career, back in 2012 with the New Zealand Warriors, and was in no mood to entertain an early exit with the Panthers. To be fair, Maloney and Nathan Cleary did their best to spark something against the Warriors.
We need to stick solid and stick together. We’re the only ones who can fix it.
«I wish there was a magic wand where you wave it and get out of it, but you can’t,» Maloney said.
«We need to stick solid and stick together. We’re the only ones who can fix it. Nobody can fix it for us. Well go out and try to do the basics right next week.»
Fittler has a huge soft spot for his former western Sydney club and would have privately hoped the pair had a blinder against the Warriors and taken care of the halves debate for him.
Maloney said «there are massive issues we need to sort out here, so it [Origin] is not something I’m thinking about».
Cleary was of the same opinion as he did his best to greet young fans in the sheds on Friday night.
«It’s pretty embarrassing to be honest after dishing out that performance,» Cleary said.
«Fans come out every week, so you have to repay them and say hello and apologise for that sort of performance.
»It’s really disappointing and embarrassing. I don’t know what’s going on at moment. We trained well all week, but come game day and we constantly shoot ourselves in the foot. We’re not giving ourselves a chance. Some of our defence is way too soft at the moment.
«I have a job here at Penrith. We’re in a bit of a rut and I need to take it upon myself to get these boys out of it and become a leader of this team.
«Of course I’d love to play for NSW again and do my best job there, but my main focus is Penrith.»
Cleary said he had spoken with Fittler in recent weeks, but it was more to do with how he had been holding up and any leadership pointers he could pass on because »Freddy was one of the best captains that ever was».
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.