Chris Malone wants to sign off in styleBy Alan Manicom
November 05, 2010
Chris Malone admits this could be his last season at London Irish and is desperate to crown it with a winners’ trophy.
The amiable Aussie fly-half is one of 16 players whose contract expires in the summer.
And as he approaches his 33rd birthday in January, Malone has begun to look towards returning home with thoughts of what he will do when his playing career ends.
He said: “Potentially this could be my last season here.
“We are having our third child in March so a bit of family support might be nice back in Australia, but we will have to see.
“I want to go into coaching and I am hopefully putting things in place at the moment, but at the same time I want to win something before I go back – so this is the year to do it with Irish.
“It will be after Christmas before I make a final decision. Having three children without family support, though, would be difficult.”
Malone has a vast wealth of experience to call upon, having starred for Bristol, Exeter, Bath and Harlequins before joining Exiles in the summer of 2009. And he is keen to make the most of his knowledge of the game by getting into coaching.
He added: “I did my Level 2 (coaching badge) some years ago now. Playing fly-half, and having been in the game a long time, it is a bit of a natural progression for me.
“I think it is something I can do well and I can add value to an organisation with the experience I have picked up along the way.
“My industry has been rugby for a long time so if I was to go and do something else I would be starting from square one. I really want to do well and make it in the coaching ranks.”
Malone will make his first start of the season tonight after being restricted to six appearances off the bench in Irish’s nine games so far.
He is one of the older heads providing the experience in a youthful looking starting line-up for Exiles’s LV= Cup pool opener against Sale Sharks.
Molly, as he is affectionately known by Irish fans, recorded the best kicking accuracy in the Premiership last season with 17 successful kicks as he battled it out with Ryan Lamb for the No.10 shirt.
But this season Malone has been more involved with helping to bring on the club’s youngsters.
Fellow senior professional Bob Casey described him as being an excellent example and a hugely positive influence.
Casey said: “His attitude and work ethic remain the same despite less game time and the club is benefitting from his work with the next generation of players.”
It is a role that Malone relishes.
He said: “When I get the opportunity to play in the A team, I have a responsibility to impart some of the knowledge that I have gained over the years to the young guys.
“They seem to enjoy that and it makes it fun for all of us. It is a big part of my job.
“I want to play every week, but I am very happy for Lamby that he is finding some consistency in his game.
“It is great for us as a club. I will be there when needed to step into the breach, but at the moment Lamby is playing well.”
And Malone will be driving Irish’s young team on at Edgeley Park, adding: “It is a great opportunity for the guys who are selected to pull on the London Irish shirt and play.
“The first team have been winning and so have the A team. As a club we want to keep that momentum going.
“When you put the jersey on, you do the jersey justice. That is the attitude we are taking this weekend.”
* LONDON IRISH are to open up the South Stand at Madejski Stadium for their LV= Cup game against Scarlets on November 14 – and give 4,000 fans the chance to decide their own admission fee.
Instead of paying for tickets, supporters will be invited to pay into an honesty box what they feel their visit was worth. South Stand season-ticket holders can upgrade free of charge to the East or West Stand.
The initiative coincides with the “Try Us with CityJet” marketing campaign, launched by the club’s principal sponsors, and is open to new and existing supporters, who can apply for tickets to bring along family and friends.
Each application can be made for one adult and up to three children. Supporters should register by 5pm on Tuesday at www.cityjet.com/londonirish.