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Holmes' future up in the air

Posted on 05/12 by Joe Gann

Holmes' future up in the air
Valentine Holmes still has his heart set on the fullback slot despite his starring role on the wing for Australia in this year’s Wold Cup.

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On the back of some devastating World Cup displays, Valentine Holmes’ stock has never been higher.

The eye-catching performances, in which he has sent records tumbling in consecutive weeks courtesy of five, and then six-try hauls, has confirmed his status as one of the game’s most deadly finishers. The facts appear to reinforce his credentials for a place on the wing; despite making his Kangaroos debut last year, he already has 14 tries to his name in just ten matches; the 23-year-old's total is second only to Billy Slater when it comes to World Cup tries scored.

However, despite seemingly guaranteeing that his future will be geared towards a role on the wing, the prodigiously gifted Queenslander is said to prefer his current position of fullback and considers a wing berth as backward step for his career.

He faces stiff competition in the battle to become the successor to Billy Slater when the legendary Storm man finally calls time on his international career, with Darius Boyd, James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic all staking valid claims to the No 1 jersey. To do so, he will need to cement his place in both Cronulla and Queensland teams in his preferred role, and his superb form on the wing may inadvertently hinder those chances.

His contract extension and the promise of a fullback slot at the Sharks convinced Holmes to ignore advances from several NFL teams last year, and it would be surprising if he were to accept a role elsewhere in the side. Any whispers of discontent from the player would no doubt put numerous clubs on red alert at the prospect of snaring one of the competition's brightest talents.
The recruitment of Josh Dugan and Matt Moylan increases the competition around the coveted fullback spot at club level, although Dugan is more than likely to be deployed in the centres with Moylan replacing the departed James Maloney at five-eighth.

It is good news for coach Shane Flanagan who will benefit from top-quality roster options at his disposal; the 2016 Premiership winner has the enviable problem of presiding over an embarrassment of riches in his backline. The burning question from the off-season remains that of Holmes' future role in the side though and the resolution of that problem may be critically important to the Sharks' attempt to reclaim the title they won two years ago.

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