Valentine Holmes is aiming high in his NRL return.
Valentine Holmes is aiming high in his NRL return.

Valentine Holmes hits the ground running

NORTH Queensland star recruit Valentine Holmes has his sights set on returning to his scintillating best as he vows to bring some attacking flair to his new NRL club.

And he's not the only one excited to see him back playing rugby league, with Queensland coach Kevin Walters keen to see him back in action this year.

The 24-year-old Townsville junior has slotted in comfortably with his hometown club following his 12-month stint in the US with NFL club the New York Jets.

And the transition from the NFL to the rough-and-tumble world of rugby league has been quite seamless for the former Cronulla flyer, who admitted he was "feeling good" leading into the 2020 season.

"I thought maybe I would have been a bit sore coming from running short bursts (in NFL training) into full contact, long distance running … but I've been good," Holmes said.

Holmes set a cracking pace in just his first two weeks of training at the Cowboys and has now switched his sights on developing attacking combinations with the club's new-look back five, which includes Kiwi international Esan Marsters and high-flyer Kyle Feldt.

Valentine Holmes is ready to pick up where he left off. Photo: Evan Morgan.
Valentine Holmes is ready to pick up where he left off. Photo: Evan Morgan.

The Cowboys' marquee signing was the NRL's second leading try-scorer in 2018 and topped the league for most linebreaks by season's end.

Now less than two months from making his highly anticipated NRL return, Holmes is again hoping to light up the league with his attacking prowess.

Cowboys Coach Paul Green must make the most of Holmes. Photo: Evan Morgan
Cowboys Coach Paul Green must make the most of Holmes. Photo: Evan Morgan

"Hopefully I get back to my form at the end of 2018, if not better, and we can help the back five," he said.

"I'm really confident with the back five we have at the moment."

Holmes said he now has a better grasp on the fullback role than he did when playing for the Sharks.

"I feel really comfortable at the back," he said.

"That's something I lacked a little bit at the Sharks, obviously being a bit younger and still learning.

"But having a few years, and that main year in 2018 playing fullback, I feel like I kind of know what I'm doing now and know what it takes to be a fullback."

Holmes will head to Brisbane next weekend as part of the 33-man extended Queensland Origin camp, alongside players such as Cameron Munster and Kalyn Ponga.

It’s also good news for Queensland. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England
It’s also good news for Queensland. Photo: AAP Image/Darren England

The former Origin star admitted coach Walters was excited to see him back in the NRL but understood he was by no means a walk-in into this year's Queensland side.

"(Walters) has reached out," Holmes said.

"He's obviously very excited to have me back playing back in the NRL and back for the Cowboys.

"I know I'm not just going to walk back in to the Queensland team. There's a lot of great players.

"Feldty is training really well, (Broncos winger Corey) Oatesy and (Rabbitohs centre Dane Gagai) … so there's a lot of players to try and compete with."

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