Ben Barba’s sensational sacking from North Queensland could open the door for Valentine Holmes to return to the NRL.
The former Dally M Medallist’s departure has left the Cowboys with ample salary cap space and in need of a marquee fullback.
North Queensland have long targeted the Townsville-local Holmes, who could be interested in joining the club should he backflip on his NFL quest.
However, the Sharks released Volmes on the final year of his contract on the provision that Cronulla is the only club he could play for should he return to the NRL in 2019.
But after signing Shaun Johnson, it is understood that the Sharks are capped out and would probably be unable to fit Holmes into there books.
Cronulla CEO Barry Russell said it would be “fair and reasonable” for Holmes to join North Queensland.
“As part of our release we have an agreement with him, which we would expect him to uphold,” Russell told The Sun-Herald.
“I don’t think his commitments will finish over there until at least August, so I don’t think he’s a chance of returning this season anyway.
“And by all reports he’s going extremely well. I really want him to be a great success over there.
“If the time comes and we had to have an honest and open discussion [about 2019], if we can accommodate him, we will; if we can’t, we’ll be fair and reasonable.
“We’re only worried about the Sharks, not any other club.”
Cowboys football manager Peter Parr told The Sun-Herald: “This has all happened really quickly, we’ll take a day or two to catch our breath, and then work out what we do moving forward.”