Winger of the Half Century: Valentine Holmes
He may be only three seasons and 57 games into his NRL career but already it has been an exciting ride for young gun Valentine Holmes.
At just 21 years of age Holmes has won an NRL crown, equalling a long standing club try scoring record along the way, played for the Kangaroos and last Friday night was named in the Sharks Team of the Half Century.
It has all come very quickly for the young man from Townsville, who while unflappable on the field was somewhat taken aback by his selection in the best of Sharks team.
“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.
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 equalled the club try-scoring record of fellow Team of the Half Century inductee David Peachey, crossing the line 19 times, with many spectacular efforts displaying his speed, skill and athleticism.
Holmes outstanding 2016 season would earn him selection in the Australian team for the Four Nations Tour, where he played four matches for Australia, scoring two tries and laying one on in the Kangaroos victory over the Kiwis in the competition Final.
However, while his speed and try scoring ability attracted the majority of the headlines and were a feature of the highlight reels, one of Holmes’ greatest assets was his ability to take his team forward from deep in their defensive end.
Having signed a new two-year contract extension recently, the book of Holmes as a member of the Cronulla Club is still in the early chapters, with plenty to still be written for one of the current superstars of the NRL.