Mun­ster in piv­otal au­di­tion for Roos

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

“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 says Slater will 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 games,” he said.

“I saw ( dur­ing the Ori­gin series) how vo­cal he is from the back. It’s def­i­nitely some­thing I’ll take in.

“He’s ev­ery­where in a game, wants the ball a lot and knows where the de­fend­ers are. He knows where for 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.

“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. “I’m very ex­cited to be play­ing in our home­land af­ter play­ing in the Four Na­tions ( in Eng­land),” Holmes said.

“I just want to play more games than I sit out of and have us win the fi­nal. We don’t want to lose a game.” CAMERON Mun­ster will get the first shot at the va­cant No. 6 Aus­tralian jersey af­ter Kan­ga­roos coach Mal Meninga opted to rest a host of big names for his side’s only preWorld Cup hitout to­day.

Storm premiership win­ners Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Will Cham­bers, along with North Queens­land fi­nals hero Michael Mor­gan, have been rested from the three- way ex­hi­bi­tion match against Fiji and PNG in Suva. The rest of the 24- man squad will play.

Mun­ster will start in the halves along­side James Maloney with Meninga declar­ing the race to part­ner Cooper Cronk and the out­side back spots the most wide open.

“The six po­si­tion and our out­side backs,” Meninga said of the spots most up for grabs.

“Who plays cen­tre and who plays wing. Billy, Cooper and Smithy are fairly se­cure in their po­si­tions.”

Josh Man­sour and Dane Ga­gai will start on the wing with Josh Du­gan and Tom Tr­bo­je­vic at cen­tre. Valen­tine Holmes will start at full­back in place of Slater while Ben Hunt will wear the No. 9 jersey.

Meninga said Wade Gra­ham and Josh McGuire will also spend time at dummy half.

The Kan­ga­roos will use 19 play­ers dur­ing their two 40 minute matches against PNG and Fiji. The likes of Jor­dan McLean, Re­gan Camp­bell- Gil­lard, Tom Tr­bo­je­vic and Felise Kau­fisi will wear the Aus­tralian jersey for the first time.

“We’ll treat it like a nor­mal game,” Meninga said. “We have a start­ing team and a bench. It’s un­lim­ited ( in­ter­change). We’re still play­ing 80 min­utes of rugby league.

“We’ll swap the play­ers around. Ev­ery­one will get a fair chop on the game min­uteswise.”

Aus­tralia play PNG first be­fore fin­ish­ing with Fiji.

Pic­ture: AAP/ MARK CALLEJA

VALEN­TINE HOLMES BLOND AM­BI­TION: Valen­tine Holmes aims to one day play full­back for the Kan­ga­roos.

Cameron Mun­ster.

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