Competition - NRL
Round - Round 14
Teams – Sharks v Titans
Date – 13th June 2016
Venue – Shark Park, Cronulla, Sydney
Photographer – Mark Nolan
Description –

Young-gun Holmes takes keys to the world

Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

That’s the edict from Sharks young-gun Valentine Holmes, who today – having already played 47 NRL games, and crossing for 32 tries in the process – celebrates just his 21st birthday.

It’s been a phenomenal and rapid rise to the top for Holmes –  though not without challenges along the way.

Hailing from Townsville in the far north of Queensland, Holmes found his way to the Shire and quickly became a Club prodigy, thanks to tearaway performances in the Sharks’ lower grades.

Touted to one day represent his home state, Holmes said the move to Cronulla was the toughest, but also the best, decision of his life to date.

“I always think about it, being so young, it’s such a massive achievement for me to play in the NRL at this age, and something I don’t take lightly,” Holmes said.

“To play in the team that I’m in now, with names like Gallen, Lewis, Ennis, Barba … I always think of how lucky I am to be in this team.

“Moving down to Sydney at a young age was obviously tough with family back home, but I’ve always had their support. They’ve always wanted to see me do my best and succeed, and I hope I’m making them proud.”

Scoring tries almost at will in his time in the Sharks’ NYC setup, Holmes’ talents quickly caught the eye of the Club’s older heads.

“They were a massive influence (when coming into the NRL), I was only young, and I didn’t know much coming into the full-time squad,” he said.

“Especially being new to Sydney, they helped me through, and continue to … I remember Gal would come and talk to me before games, and he did that right from my debut in 2014.

“But it’s the same now from Mick Ennis and ‘Lewy’ … they just fill us young boys with confidence, and we can’t ask for much more.”

Holmes’ confidence could have easily taken a hit early on in his career, with his first 10 appearances in the NRL all losses.

While the Sharks now sit pretty atop the NRL’s ladder on the back of 14-consecutive wins, those tough memories aren’t lost. Holmes says though, that’s what makes his, and the team’s performances this season, even more special.

“It definitely makes you cherish the good times that bit extra,” Holmes said.

“We lost the last six games of the 2014 season, and then the first four of the next year. It wasn’t a very good start in my career.

“This year’s just been awesome, the belief in each other and in the Club, it’s been good. That’s what we put our good form down to.” 

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