Holmes has eye on Slater

The Gympie Times - - LEAGUE/AFL SPORT -

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

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