SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Valentine Holmes watches on as he waits to speak to the media during a Cronulla Sharks NRL media opportunity at North Cronulla Surf Club on September 10, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

News has broken that Sharks, Maroons and Kangaroos superstar Valentine Holmes is set to turn his back on both his current club and a return home to Townsville in order to chase an NFL dream.

The Sharks premiership winner joined the likes of Kalyn Ponga and Tommy Turbo in 2018 in becoming one of the game’s best, young fullbacks.

It was expected that he would return home from an end of year holiday on Sunday to tell the Sharks that he had accepted a huge offer to move back home to Townsville where he would join the Cowboys from 2020 onward.

The Sharks were expected to throw one last, and large, offer to Val and his manager in hopes they could swap their star number one’s decision in the final moments.

As is becoming the theme in the 2018 NRL off-season, nothing is going as expected.

Holmes is set to walk out on the club, and the code, to chase a possible life in the National Football League (NFL) in America.

The obvious comparisons to Jarryd Hayne have been made, but in real terms the young superstar is taking a far bigger risk than his Eels counterpart.

Hayne had already achieved, and had earned, plenty. He was a Dally M medalist and had years of rep footy under his belt, and in his bank account.

Holmes is set to turn his back on a $1+ a season for at least the next ten years for what amounts to a one in a million shot.

Young Val is a superstar. A freakish talent with all the skills required to succeed in any athletic game, but he has zero experience in the NFL as opposed to similar-aged prospects with literal years in the juniors, school and college game.

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As a Sharks fan I honestly don’t know what to make of this breaking news. I guess I’m still processing, but the reality is there is very little the club can do to ensure their star returns to pre-season training if his mind is made up.

His NRL contract will stop him from walking out on the club to join a rival in the same code, but unless they chain their flyer to the goal posts at Southern Cross Group Stadium, he’s going to board a plane if he really wants.

The club will likely insist that he fulfills his 2019 contract. They would be absolutely crazy to act otherwise.

Allow Holmes extra leeway to train and learn the game if it means he’ll be around to spearhead the title charge in 2019.

But what is stopping Holmes from simply walking away?

Seemingly nothing.

Personally I wish Holmes all the best. He owes us nothing. He delivered a Premiership to the club in a sublime 2016 season on the wing. He was incredible at the back end of 2018 at fullback.

Truth be told I’d have been fighting back the tears seeing him line up for the Cowboys in 2020. Might as well be the Dallas Cowboys.

The Sharks will no doubt speak to Holmes but will likely be broken hearted at his response.

By all reports he’s going to leave the club, whether that be at the end of 2019, or before the turn of the year.

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I admire Holmes for taking a punt. Let’s really emphasise here that is exactly what this is.

In rugby league he’s a genuine superstar. He would walk into NRL side in the competition.

He would feature at fullback or on the wing in literally any 13 you could put together.

He’s a million dollar (at least) player a season with ten years left in his career, minimum.

He’s a smart kid, humble and he has the look. Perfect for a role in the media post footy.

He moves to the States he becomes a very small fish in a massive, MASSIVE pond.

You HAVE to admire that.

Let’s not forget that Hayne, a far bigger star and a more established superstar, fought his way to the most unlikely of NFL starts with the 49ers. He even debuted in the big leagues despite being given next to no chance.

He was then dropped, cut and forced to re package himself before he could return to the NRL. It took him over a season to return to form.

Let’s not forget that Hayne was far better built for a running back position that Holmes would be.

As quick as Holmes is, he’s far smaller and not as quick as the best wide receivers in the league.

He also has zero experience at any level.

HUGE risk, good on him, but either way, I can’t see anything but Holmes lining up for the Cowboys in 2020 … the North Queensland Cowboys.


  1. With the predator being a current Dally M player failing in his attempt to crack the NFL gridiron, it seems another player building towards his prime will waste a year or two of his League career chasing the same dream. Just hope when he returns with his tail between his legs and two empty cashless pockets that he has not wasted his skills like Hayne wasted his.

    Hayme has never been the same player after walking away at his peak and returning to League. Personally Hayne was a better player as a current Dally M medalist when he went to the USA, Holmes has not reached Haynes heights in comparison and in my opinion is certain to fail. At least Hayne will be a top player in the Big House footy comp. Shame they closed Parra jail, He could of played for them💪👀👎

  2. No he isn’t. With a “Hail Mary” play there IS a chance, no matter how remote. After the Hayne SanFran fiasco where flight JH38 never got off the runway, Holmes will have no chance to repeat the media circus from the “Hayne Plane crash” disaster. Especially if his only knowledge of the game is playing Madden 2017 on the XBox One!

  3. All the haters said he had no passing game and would never make a fullback …. he has both …. I’m a sharks fan and honestly Holmes is my favourite player he’s cleaned skin ….. if he goes and has a shot why not ….. imagine him in a punt return with blockers ….. Hayne always stepped his way thru the line Holmes seems to explode thru the line ……if he goes good luck champion and if you come back please come back to the sharks

    • When Holmsey returns it will not be with Cronulla, He is trying the old Hayne tactic which gives him the immediate get out clause then when he returns it will be with thehighest bidder to make up for his USA failure

        • If he isn’t humble now porter he will be when he returns and he will return much sooner than he expects.

          I don’t doubt or question your assessment of Holmes’ character only that, irrespective of his natural talent and ability, the NFL is a different beast altogether and (with the exception of punters) it is a near impossible feat for players to break into the elite ranks of the NFL.

          Firstly Holmes has to compete with a flood of elite talent from the US college system that know the game inside out and have played it all their lives. Also, the NFL is far more structured and less instinctive and ad lib. Holmes will have to supress some of these tendencies to fit within a heavily structured system.

          Good luck to him but honestly you could bet your house against him getting a contract in a starting team of any NFL franchise much less getting game time in the NFL. I’m happy for you to post this back at me if I am wrong but it just isn’t going to happen buddy. IMHO he is making a MASSIVE mistake.

  4. He could be great there but jeez, it’d be sad to see him go. As an athlete, it may be the correct professional move for him, but it could be a disaster. That’s instead of being an absolute star like he is in the NRL. Best of luck to him, and if he goes I, like many, will be keeping an eye on him, but part of considering ourselves a global sport is being able to retain our best players. We can’t say we can do that if players like Val go.

  5. Just hope flanno doesn’t stick Moylan or Dugan back there ….. Moylan will be a decent 5/8 and should be paired with flanno jnr …,, got a few young kids coming thru …,, but please no Johnston he’s a winger

  6. I don’t know about this. He is much smaller than Hayne and his explosive acceleration is not as good (comparing to Hayne pre NFL not post obviously). I really think he will struggle and will need to be prepared to put in years of work to make it. Hayne had a few things going for him in that he went over there as the Dally M player of the year, and the American’s ate that up that our MVP went to their game, and he signed with a club that had a coach who was known to try things outside the norm.

    If he does go I wish him all the best, but I really think he is making a mistake.

  7. Too small to be a Wide Receiver and too much of a work load at running back, he’d have to do a lot more than just run. He’d have to pick up blocks which he’d struggle with his small frame, run the correct routes on passing downs and read the correct gaps/holes to run into on the ground game. Also have to remember all the audibles the QB throws out there. I remember reading a article back when Hayne was at the 9ers, he struggled remembering plays and audibles, had to carry a note book around training, probably why he never seen action other than special teams. Holmes has a lot of Christian McCaffrey in him, not to big but has great footwork and speed to burn. Just needs to land on the right team, where I think of a team used him the way Panthers use CMC, he might be something. But I don’t think he’ll see any action as an actual running back right away, probably just a return specialist where I think he’d do well in.

  8. Very good comment WTN. Once again we seem to be having this same discussion with people who don’t fully understand the NFL thinking that athletic ability alone is enough to make it in the US.

    I posted my own thoughts on the “Sharks statement on Holmes future” 2 days and several ZT stories ago (link below).

    I doubt though that he will get a shot at any franchise either on special teams or as a return specialist. He just has nothing exceptional to offer IMO. Good footwork like you say but not exceptional speed. He has good hands by RL standards but not by NFL standards and ball in flight and to touch is SO different.

    Just like Hayne (JH38) Holmes will need to be able to cover either RB, WR or be used as a DB (Cornerback) which will NOT happen as he has no idea how to read formations and offensive plays and he would be isolated and burned on every play.

    As you have said, he will need to block (either as a RB, halfback/tailback) or as a WR and he will get shredded if he is put in that position. IMO Holmes has far less chance of making it than Hayne did especially now that the NFL are even more sceptical that NRL players can transition to the NFL. I just can’t see him getting picked up by any franchise much less get within a whisker of making the final cut like Hayne when he got close but no cigar.

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