Valentine Holmes is returning home to the NRL for the 2020 season, but he will be back in new colours and a new state, having signed a six-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Holmes surrendered the final year of his contract with the Cronulla Sharks before the 2019 season began to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL, leading him to eventually join the New York Jets’ practice squad.
However while Holmes did make some brief appearances in the Jets’ preseason trial games, he never appeared particularly likely to make the Jets’ playing roster.
“This is a wonderful signing for our club,” said North Queensland’s director of football, Peter Parr.
“It wasn’t long ago that Valentine was one of the best players in the competition before his courageous decision to go to the NFL. His form in 2018 was as good as any player in the NRL, particularly in the second half of that season.
“He’s a proven big game player, he’s won a grand final and he’s played some terrific football for both Queensland and Australia.
“Valentine has been a top-class performer at wing and fullback and we’ve made no secret we had a desire to strengthen our outside back stocks.
“Val’s record speaks for itself and we couldn’t be more excited about securing him at the Cowboys for the next six seasons.”
24-year-old Holmes has played 105 NRL games representing the Sharks after making his debut in 2014. He was part of Cronulla’s first and only premiership team in 2016.
Holmes has made five appearances for Queensland in State of Origin, scoring eight tries in that time including a hat-trick in Game 3 of the 2017 series.
He has scored 17 tries from 13 Test appearances for Australia.