Holmes at home with Sharks’ finest ever
GARY LESTER – THE player, writer, publisher and the Sharks’ unabashed greatest fan – has named boom winger Valentine Holmes in his best-ever Cronulla team.
Lester was one of the first players to wear Cronulla’s colours, playing halfback for the 1963 President’s Cup outfit. Two major knee operations curtailed an automatic entry into the first-ever Cronulla premiership side in 1967.
He’s since written a history of the Sharks, Colour Me Black, White and Blue.
“He is the spark, the match-winner we have been craving for too many years to remember,” Lester says of Holmes.
“I’ve been asked, can the Sharks break their premiership duck and win their first title this season? Yes, due to two factors: the toughest pack the club has fielded since 1978 and the arrival of Valentine Holmes.”
His best-ever composite team is: David Peachey; Mat Rogers, Steve Rogers, Andrew Ettingshausen, Valentine Holmes; Chris Wellman, Tommy Bishop (c); Greg Pierce, Paul Gallen, Gavin Miller, Cliff Watson, Ron Turner, Dane Sorensen.
The 1978 pack that Gary [pictured, left] rates superior to any the club has fielded was Greg Pierce, Steve Kneen, Kurt Sorensen, Dane Sorensen, John McMartin and Paul Khan.
“They were as tough as you would find. Khan would knock his mother over to get to you and Kneen ate rusty nails for breakfast,” Gary reckons.
And finally, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan?
“Shane has held the club together. He’s the reason the Sharks are where they are today. He’s been a master of tact and diplomacy and he’s a bloody good coach to boot.”