Just weeks ago he looked to be joining the increasing number of players opting to represent their home nations and smaller teams at the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, but now North Queensland Cowboys centre Valentine Holmes has confirmed he’ll be available for coach Mal Meninga if required.
It was at the start of August that reports emerged suggesting Holmes was considering representing the Cook Islands, admitting that he’d spoken to coach Tony Iro about the chance to represent his mother’s birth-place.
But thanks in-part to a revitalising run home with the Cowboys through to the preliminary finals, Holmes has now seen fit to reaffirm his commitment to the green and gold.
“I can’t turn my back on Australia,” Holmes told the Courier Mail.
“I’m born in Australia, born in Townsville and I’ve played Origin for Queensland.
“For me, the right thing to do is put Australia first and if I do get selected by Mal, that’s awesome. If I don’t, then I’ll make myself available for Cook Islands.
“When the time comes, the right thing to do is represent Australia.”
Even in the heartbreaking loss to the Eels he was influential, finishing the game with 148 attacking metres, a try assist, a line break and six tackle breaks.
He’s also the owner of an impressive record in the Kangaroos jumper, having scored 17 tries in 13 Test appearances already. Though he has only represented Australia on the wing, his proven ability at centre this year will likely give Meninga more options with his backline.
“Wearing the green and gold is really special,” Holmes admitted.
“I’ll always cherish my time in the Australian team because you don’t know if your next game for the Kangaroos will be your last.”