Cowboys training
Cowboys training

Holmes a certain starter for Cowboys

The Cowboys have confirmed Valentine Holmes will make his long-awaited return to rugby league this weekend for their trial match against the Broncos.

It will be Holmes' first game back in the NRL for 519 days following his stint in the US aiming to secure an NFL contract with the New York Jets.

However, Holmes will not play alongside his brother-in-law and club captain Michael Morgan, who will sit out Saturday's game at Barlow Park in Cairns.

 

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It’s been a long time between drinks for Valentine Holmes. Photo: Evan Morgan
It’s been a long time between drinks for Valentine Holmes. Photo: Evan Morgan

 

North Queensland's NRL Nines superstar Scott Drinkwater will instead play five-eighth following his impressive outing in Perth.

He is in a two-way battle with young gun Jake Clifford to partner Morgan in the halves for the 2020 season and Saturday's game will allow coach Paul Green to gauge his preferred candidate.

Clifford has been named in the No.7 jersey, while new recruit Reece Robson will play in the No.9 role. The North Queensland halves combination shares just 33 NRL games between them and will face off with Broncos stars Anthony Milford and Brodie Croft.

 

Scott Drinkwater will aim to build on his Nines performance. Photo: James Worsfold/Getty Images
Scott Drinkwater will aim to build on his Nines performance. Photo: James Worsfold/Getty Images

 

 

The Queensland rivalry is sure to flare up despite the game's status as just a trial between the two sides, but Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold said he expects nothing more than for his halves to build some cohesion.

"They'll play half a game together," Seibold said.

"It's just a matter of trying to build a connection and cohesion there between them. That's simply what we want to get out of the trial, nothing more, nothing less.

"They've gelled well together at training. Now it's time to put it out on the field. I will give them more time together against the Titans."

 

Brisbane rookie Dearden will get a run. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images
Brisbane rookie Dearden will get a run. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

 

Broncos playmaking teen Tom Dearden will also fly to Cairns and is expected to rotate into the halves during the final 40 minutes.

"We've got a group, particularly in key positions, who haven't played a lot of football," Seibold said.

"It's a good opportunity for everyone to build a bit of cohesion."

Francis Molo has been named to start at prop - taking over the famous No.8 jersey from retired legend Matt Scott.

Nines captain Jason Taumalolo will back up from his strong showing in Perth, as will off-season recruit Connelly Lemuelu who has been named on the wing.

Vice-captain Jordan McLean will bolster the Cowboys forward pack alongside Coen Hess and Shane Wright, while Justin O'Neill, Reuben Cotter, Tom Gilbert and Emry Pere will make their season debut for the club.



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