There is a breath of fresh air at Corrimal - but also a feeling of familiarity - as the Cougars gear up for their next chapter under two new co-coaches. The club this week announced that Sean Maloney and Jarrod Mullen will share the reins for their first grade side for next year's Illawarra League campaign. It's a huge boost for Corrimal, who are eager to rise up the ladder after a disappointing 2023 season. The move also marks a homecoming for Maloney after spending the past couple of years with the Mittagong Lions. "I've got a soft spot for Corrimal, they're underachievers," he told the Mercury. "I wasn't happy a couple of years ago where the Illawarra competition was going team wise, so I fancied a change and went over the mountains to the Mittagong Lions, which I enjoyed. But I used to come to the majority of games at Corrimal and saw them struggling a little bit, and it brought me out because we'd done a lot of work with the juniors to try bring them through. "We'd built up a good side, a very competitive side. But a lot of my older players that we'd brought through sort of left and jumped ship, some retired, some went on to other clubs in other competitions. So I felt really slack on my side of things. "They asked me what my plans were for 2024, and I thought about doing another season at Mittagong. But I decided that they needed more help than Mittagong, so I thought it was time to come back." Maloney will be joined at the helm by Mullen, who was set to be the Corrimal's marquee signing in 2023, but was ruled out on the eve of the competition due to a shoulder injury. However, the former Newcastle Knights and NSW State of Origin representative is expected to take the field next year, while also sharing the coaching duties. The 36-year-old played more than 300 games in the NRL. "We're hoping that his shoulder pulls up in the off-season and he wants to give it another year," Maloney said. "He's a massive cog in me coming back. He spoke to me a couple of times when I was watching the Cougars and he was coaching from the sideline, helping (previous head coach) Drew (Keys) out. And we had a bit of a game plan, and a lot for me to come back had to do with Jarrod. "He's a great bloke, a real down-to-earth funny guy. And his knowledge of football and where he's been - with Newcastle, NSW and the PM representative side - brings a lot to the club, especially for the young guys. "He will be massive for us, not just for his coaching ability and knowledge of the game, if he can put his boots on. That will give us a couple of steps forward." On-field recruitment is also set to be crucial for the Cougars ahead of their 2024 campaign. Corrimal on Thursday announced the signature of English forward Nathan Mason, who came through the Huddersfield Giants Academy and has experience playing in the Super League. Maloney said that they would also continue to develop their young talent. "I've put some systems in place, so we'll still be depending a lot on our juniors. When I was here last time, we had a couple of juniors that came from the 18s, so we'll have four or five first-grade players around that 21 age mark," he said. "We'll also have three or four of the older blokes coming back, and we've signed one or two players from overseas who are very experienced players. So it's going to be a mixture, so my job as a coach is try get them tied in and get them on these systems and programs of playing simple, hard football. "We've also got a crop under-16s who have come through now to the 18s. They've been a pretty big team from the under-12s at Corrimal, playing in a lot of grand finals, so we should have an alright 18s squad. Reserve grade made the grand final last year and we've kept the majority of the players. "But in first grade, we're rebuilding again. A lot of players have left, so I'm going to be filling those gaps with some of those young players."