In what promises to be a unique sporting experience for young gun Valentine Holmes, the Sharks can confirm the Kangaroo winger will head to the US to undergo physical testing in front of NFL trainers and officials.
After completing his obligations with the victorious Kangaroos at the Four Nations tournament in the UK, Holmes headed for America, reportedly with New Zealand and Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo his travelling companion.
The pair will undergo an official NRL workout in Los Angeles on November 26, to be conducted by Jeff Foster from National Football Scouting Inc, a man responsible for conducting the NFL Combine each year.
The testing will be non-contact and relates more to a player’s physical prowess and elite athleticism, providing a gauge as to where they sit in comparison with other athletes from the NFL and other sporting codes.
In answer to speculation that the NFL testing could lead to a possible code switch, Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman can confirm the club had prior knowledge of what Holmes’ American experience would involve and had no doubt he will be back well in advance of the 2017 season.
“Valentine is contracted to the Sharks in 2017 and will be returning to us at the same time as had previously been scheduled with Shane Flanagan and the coaching staff,” Gorman said. “It was always early January for Val and this won’t affect his pre-season.
“We knew about this and supported it as a unique experience for Val and we have no concerns about him returning to honour his contract. The testing he will undergo is more a fitness and physical assessment, than an NFL trial.”
As for beyond the 2017 NRL season, Gorman explains that talks were well underway to extend Holmes’ stay at the Sharks well into the future.
“We have already been in contract extension talks with Val and it has been very positive on both sides,” Gorman added.
While a number of the Sharks younger brigade have already begun pre-season training the majority of the Grand Final team, including skipper Paul Gallen, return in early December, with Kangaroo representatives Holmes and James Maloney, along with Gerard Beale who represented the Kiwis at the Four Nations, due back during the first week of the New Year.