A well known column offered up it’s annual predictions over the weekend, which raised the possibility of Valentine Holmes returning to the Sharks.
The ‘prediction’ matches the general thoughts of most rugby league fans, in that the NFL-bound former Shark has a big mountain to climb.
If he does not make an NFL roster in early 2019 he can return to the game, but only to his former club Cronulla as part of his release deal.
Given that the Sharks have just signed Shaun Johnson on a contract likely on par or more lucrative than the one Holmes walked away from, the smart money is on Holmes not having the safety net of a big contract to return to.
The mentioned ‘deal’ would be a ten-week deal, if the Sharks were in final’s contention, similar to that allowed by the NRL when Jarryn Hayne returned to the game for the Titans.
There is no suggestion of there being any truth to this, as Holmes is very confident in his journey, while the Sharks may have no interest. But as usual, when anything Shark related pops up, my direct messages light up.
So Sharks fans, if Valentine Holmes were to fall short in his huge goal to gain an NFL roster spot, would you be happy for him to return to the club in a short-term capacity?
First of all, I can’t imagine NRL fans of other teams being to happy with the current QLD and Australian winger coming into a side just a few months before the final’s series. That said, if the Sharks have the salary cap space, there is nothing stopping them from signing Holmes.
For mine, if there were any chance of Holmes returning to the club short-term, I’m rolling out the red carpet.
Yes Holmes left the club in the lurch by announcing his intentions to move away from the game very late on.
I’d probably be a little more annoyed at Holmes if we hadn’t used his money to sign a player who I believe improves our chances of a title tilt in Shaun Johnson.
I’d also likely be more annoyed if Holmes wasn’t a huge part of the 2016 Premiership winning side, or if he wasn’t literally our best player in 2018.
Full disclosure I’m still not thrilled at the way Holmes left the club.
The club was caught off guard by Holmes very late announcement. The fact they, and the fans and players, had to find out via media reports was the kicker.
Holmes should have been up front, months ago, allowing the Sharks a chance to replace him.
Sure, the Sharks got lucky in that Johnson became available within a week of the Holmes release, but normally that doesn’t happen.
I can see why Sharks fans would be angry and would not want Holmes walking back in.
Paul Gallen’s comments summed up a lot of what Sharks fans and players were thinking.
There’s no doubt that Holmes returning would lead to fractured relationships but you can’t tell me that every player in every NRL side are best buddies.
I’m 100 per cent certain Paul Gallen would welcome Holmes back with open arms.
I’d also expect the large majority of Sharks fans to do exactly the same.
There have been arguments that Jarryd Hayne became a distraction during the Titans run to the finals. This I absolutely agree with, but the circumstances could not be more different.
Hayne is a huge figure. Wherever he went, in any side, he was the main man.
He also came into a set side with their key positions settled and playing well. His returning to fullback, a position that was well beyond his level of fitness at the same, was disruptive.
Few will forget that field goal he kicked before yelling “this is my house” but apart from that …
Holmes would come back and be shot straight out onto the wing.
With all due respect to the likes of Feki and Katoa, if Holmes were available, he’s the first choice winger. Not just for the Sharks, but literally any rugby league side in the world.
He wouldn’t come back into fullback unless there were injuries.
No, or minimal disruption.
He’s also not been out of the game for a long period. Whereas Hayne completely re shaped his body to match the challenges of being an NFL running back, Holmes would have only been working for eight-or-so months. We’ll make it nine for argument sake.
Holmes isn’t going to put on 10 kilos of muscle or re-shape his body in that time. He’ll work on explosiveness and should pack on some size, but nothing a few games on the wing won’t fix.
Unless Katoa and Feki are each leading the Dally M race from the wing, there is no chance I wouldn’t literally drive to the airport to pick up Holmes on his way to training.
They may say otherwise but I can’t see, if it ever got series, that any other fan of the club would have any trouble cheering on a man who improves our title credentials in a big way.