Kevvie’s faith in Holmes
QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters has publicly backed Valentine Holmes for a Maroons recall amid suggestions the Sharks star could miss out on State of Origin selection.
Competition for the two wing spots, coupled with Holmes’ inconsistent form at NRL level this season, prompted reports the Townsville-born flyer wouldn’t make Origin.
The Maroons are flush with experienced wingers — including Darius Boyd, Corey Oates and Dane Gagai.
This leaves Queensland with a difficult decision for game one in Melbourne, but Walters told The Sunday Telegraph Holmes was on track to be picked.
“I haven’t seen anything from Valentine to indicate that he wouldn’t be part of what is happening this year with Origin,” Walters said.
“You can’t be at your best every week and he has had a few nights where he could have been better, but as Queenslanders we like what he brings to the table.
“That is particularly the case at the highest level. He is great for Cronulla but at Origin level he brings a lot.”
Walters said Holmes’ blistering try-scoring form at Origin and Test level was difficult to ignore.
The Sharks speedster has scored 18 tries in 13 appearances for Queensland and Australia.
“Val’s performances in last year’s Origin series and the World Cup with Australia are helping shape his representative career and how good a player he can be,” he said.
“I know he has been a lot better with the Sharks in the last couple of weeks, but he is a definite try scorer and he has great speed and that is what Origin is all about.
“We don’t announce the team ( until next week) and we’d hope that everyone, including Valentine, gets through.”
Holmes will play in his favoured fullback position against Canterbury today.
He has impressed in the No. 1 jumper, filling in for an injured Josh Dugan ( fractured foot).
Holmes has also benefited from motivational targets set by halfback Chad Townsend.
“I’ve had a chat with him about a few things around targets and challenges, things like support plays, and injecting yourself in the game, and he’s really taken it on board,” Townsend said.
“I set him a target for 20 support plays on the weekend and he got 28, so come Monday morning, he was in my ear about it.
“I’m super proud of him and hopefully he can keep dishing out performances like that, whichever position he plays in.
“With Duges (Dugan) being out, he got an opportunity at the back and he’s really taken it with both hands.
“He really wants to learn the position and do as best he can.”