North Queensland have resisted talking up Valentine Holmes’ first game against his former NRL club but it seems Cronulla know exactly what to expect in Saturday’s clash.
After Holmes played his best game since his 2019 NFL sojourn in last round’s 36-6 rout of Gold Coast, Cowboys coach Paul Green claimed his fullback’s best was not far away.
North Queensland will need something special against the Sharks in Townsville after confirmation that star lock Jason Taumalolo will be sidelined for at least a week with bone bruising in his knee.
Queensland State of Origin flyer Holmes – who savoured 2016 premiership success with Cronulla – admitted barely two weeks ago that he looked forward to lining up against his former side.
But Green on Tuesday baulked when asked if a game against the Sharks would finally unleash vintage Holmes.
“I think he would like to play well against his old club but I don’t think he is thinking too much about that,” he said.
“For him it is about improving on his effort last week.
“He had some classy touches for us. He was pretty tidy in terms of his errors last week so he’s building each week.”
Holmes was a standout in North Queensland’s round three romp, having a hand in three tries while also running 113m as he finally blew off the rust in his NRL return season.
The Cowboys may have been tight-lipped about Holmes’ potential impact but Sharks playmaker Matt Moylan said they were on high alert.
“Obviously he is going to be a big part of their attack,” Moylan, who is set to slot into five-eighth for Chad Townsend (hamstring), said.
“He is finding his feet still (but) he is definitely going to be a player that we have to limit the amount of times he can impact on the game if we want to get the two points.
“He has that natural instinct in him.
“You have to be on your game because he can tear apart a game at any moment.”