SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 30: Valentine Holmes of the Sharks runs the ball during the round four NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at Southern Cross Group Stadium on March 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

North Queensland could finally land their main target, with negotiations underway for Valentine Holmes and Ben Barba to switch clubs in time for the 2020 season.

WWOS understand after Barba completes his first season for the Cowboys in 2019, he will be involved in a swap deal with Holmes, meaning the Cowboys get their man, and Barba returns to Cronulla.

Holmes is keen to get back home and play in north Queensland, and while the Sharks are holding him to the final year of his contract next season, WWOS believe they won’t stand in his way any longer.

Barba won the 2016 grand final with the Sharks before being suspended by the NRL for a positive drug test, although has been dominating for St Helens in the Super League this season.

The former Shark will take hold of the No.1 jersey at the Cowboys next season, although that will be short-lived if the swap goes through, with Barba and Holmes to switch clubs at the end of next season.


  1. That swap may be positive for everyone.
    Cowboys are going to have a similar problem as Manly going forward. No first grade quality 5/8.
    Out of Te Marie Martin, Clifford, Hodkinson, L Croker, K Elgey. Clifford is the only one who may develop to something useful.

    • Your team was coached by a “five eighth” in Trent Barrett, it appears with Hastings in huge demand by all the leading English teams, to me provides evidence that, Trent knows very little about coaching in the NRL category. By banishing Hastings to the lower grades of Blacktown City Workers and then chasing him away from Australia, shows Trent could not recognize a decent five-eight,even if he fell over one. I am so pleased to see this extremely ignorant coach fall on his own sword.

      As for Cronulla swapping Holmes for the ageing Barba, it must be that Trent has a new job at Cronulla for such a ridiculous move to even be suggested. In reality, this will never come to fruition.

      • Are you mad or just ignorant? Hastings was never good.. ever. I dont know what you see in him the roosters gave him up and we did the same as hes rubbish. Barrett cant coach but Hastings was always bad.

  2. It’s a big “If” this deal happens, as Ben Barba turns 30 in June 2019. Hey might have lost a little bit of speed by now. Playing in the English Super League isn’t an accurate assessment of his ability to play fullback in the NRL in 2020. If we use this current season as any sort of guide, the likes of Billy Slater, Jarryd Hayne, Darius Boyd and Michael Gorden were the oldest fullbacks playing first grade, and Slater was head and shoulders above any of them. I think it will be a matter of wait and see with Ben Barba.

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