Holmes humbled with TOHC selection
He has only been at the Sharks for a short time, however for Valentine Holmes his NRL career to date has certainly been eventful and spectacular, with the young gun named on Friday in the Sharks Team of the Half Century.
Holmes was joined by dual international Mat Rogers as one of the two wingers in the ‘best of the best’ Sharks team, coming after a season which saw him help the club to it’s maiden premiership before earning selection for the Kangaroos for the Four Nations Tour of the UK at season’s end.
It’s been a whirlwind for the 21-yerar-old, who struggled to come to grips with his Team of the Half Century inclusion.
“It’s very humbling and I’m very privileged to be a part of that team,” Holmes said. “I had no idea I’d be with all the greats that have played at the club, alongside (Andrew) Ettingshausen, Mat Rogers, (David) Peachey and the others.
“I was very nervous going up, I didn’t really want to go up, but I’m very happy to be given that medal,” he added.
Still in the early stages of what promises to be a long and illustrious career, Holmes debuted in difficult circumstances in 2014 before bursting onto the scene in 2015, only to go to another level in the Sharks premiership winning team of 2016.
Playing 26 of 27 games this past season Holmes equaled the club try-scoring record of David Peachey in crossing the stripe 19 times, with the majority of his tries displaying his abundance of speed, skill and athleticism.
“It was an unreal year,” Holmes said of 2016. “But it wasn’t just myself, it was all the boys. It was a big team effort and I wouldn’t have got there on my own.”
Holmes outstanding 2016 campaign earned him selection in the Australian team for the Four Nations Tour, where he quickly claimed then nailed down a starting position in Coach Mal Meninga’s Kangaroo 17.
The championship ring and Kangaroos cap was meritorious achievements in there own right, with the Sharks Team of the Half Century medal now putting the icing on the cake following a massive year for the young Shark.
“I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it. It’s definitely a massive honour,” Holmes said.
“Winning the Grand Final, playing for Australia, then to get this on top of it all, I’ve had a pretty good year and a bit now and other than my hamstring injury this has got the year off to a great start.”
Holmes was one of five players from the 2016 Premiership winning side chosen by the fan vote and the independent selection panel for the Sharks Team of the Half Century, joining club captain Paul Gallen, five eighth James Maloney, hooker Michael Ennis and prop Andrew Fifita in the Cronulla 50-Year squad.