Holmes has eye on Slater
RUGBY LEAGUE: Valentine Holmes says he wants to become the Queensland and Australian fullback one day as a graduate of Slater University.
Cronulla’s first-choice fullback this year, Holmes will study how his Kangaroos teammate Billy Slater goes about his role as No.1 in what may be a six-week World Cup camp.
The three-try star of Queensland’s win in Origin III is the incumbent Australian left winger approaching the World Cup opener against England on October 27 in Melbourne.
“Fullback is my favourite position to play and eventually it is my goal to do. I’ve got a lot to prove first,’’ Holmes said.
“I don’t think I’m ready to play fullback for Queensland or Australia at the moment.
“There are some very good fullbacks who I am learning from.”
Holmes said Slater would provide many cues for him in how to maximise his potential as a fullback, with the Australians to play three pool games and as many as three sudden-death games.
“I see how he prepares for training and prepares for games,” he said.
“I saw (during the Origin series) how vocal he is from the back. It’s definitely something I’d take in.
“He’s everywhere in a game, wants the ball a lot and knows where the defenders are. He knows where the ball is going to be.
“I know how fast he is around the back. I’ve got some speed and would hope to base my game around that at the Sharks.”
As well as his athleticism, Holmes will catch the eye with dyed blond hair when he plays in two 40-minute trial matches in Fiji tonight against the local World Cup side and Papua New Guinea.
“I got it not long ago. It’s just a new look. I’ll probably get it cut out next week,’’ he said.
The Australian players say coach Mal Meninga is yet to address them on how freely he will rotate his 24-man squad through the World Cup matches. – Paul Malone