MAROON V MAROON

HOLMES GUNS FOR HIS BILLY IDOL

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - FRONT PAGE - MATT LOGUE IN SYDNEY

CRONULLA full­back Valen­tine Holmes idolises Billy Slater but he says the Sharks will do ev­ery­thing to stop the Melbourne No.1 from a fairy­tale grand fi­nal farewell.

Holmes has huge re­spect for Slater but said the Sharks are primed to end the Storm’s ti­tle de­fence.

CRONULLA full­back Valen­tine Holmes idolises Billy Slater but he says the Sharks will do ev­ery­thing to stop the Melbourne No.1 from a fairy­tale grand fi­nal farewell.

Holmes has ad­mired Slater since his ju­nior league days in Townsville and has moulded his tran­si­tion from the wing to full­back on the Queens­land and Aus­tralian cham­pion.

“Ob­vi­ously Billy will want to go to the grand fi­nal to get the send-off he de­serves but we are not go­ing to be an easy team that rolls over,” Holmes said of Fri­day night’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal at AAMI Park.

“We will turn up and hope­fully we can get the win. But Billy has been a big role model of mine grow­ing up. I’ve been lucky enough to play against him and along­side him at Test and Ori­gin level.

“Billy has had a re­ally good ca­reer. He has won a few grand fi­nals, Ori­gins, World Cups and won Dally Ms – he has done ev­ery­thing.

“If we beat them, and I’m hop­ing we do, I’m sure he’ll still be happy with how his ca­reer went.”

Holmes is con­fi­dent Cronulla can cause an up­set at AAMI Park.

He says the Sharks can take in­spi­ra­tion from their two wins over the Storm this season, es­pe­cially the Round 22 tri­umph in Melbourne.

Holmes starred on the day with a try and two goals as Cronulla claimed a hard­fought 17-14 vic­tory.

“We’d lost two games in a row be­fore that win and it turned the season around for us,” he said.

“We have to go down there with the same mind­set and try and treat it like a nor­mal game.

“We’ve got to worry about hold­ing on to the ball oth­er­wise Melbourne will hurt us.

“They are a qual­ity team and when they are at­tack­ing the line they usu­ally score, so we’ve got to give them the ball in the cor­ner.”

The Sharks have en­joyed a heap of suc­cess against the Storm this season but Holmes stressed his side couldn’t head to Melbourne with a com­pla­cent at­ti­tude.

“If we play like we did in the sec­ond half against Pen­rith, the Storm will just steam­roll us,” he said.

“Play­ers like Slater and (Cameron) Smith are go­ing to spot that out.

“They would have looked at that Pen­rith game to see what we did wrong and they’ll try and do the same thing that the Pan­thers did.”

IN FORM: Valen­tine Holmes play­ing the Pan­thers. AUS­TRALIAN IDOL: Sharks flyer Valen­tine Holmes (right) and Storm star full­back Billy Slater (left) will clash. Main pic­ture: Brett Costello

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