Interim North Queensland coach Josh Hannay expects the very best of Valentine Holmes to be on show again in the NRL soon enough after he played a key role in the Cowboys’ golden point win over St George Illawarra.
A marquee signing after his return from a failed attempt to make the NFL, Holmes has had a relatively low-key season.
Initially feeling his way into the fullback role at the Cowboys, Holmes suffered a setback with an ankle injury that kept him out for two months.
After returning against former club Cronulla last week, Holmes shifted gears against the Dragons – scoring a try, kicking three conversions and the deciding field goal.
He looked dangerous most times he had the ball, something Hannay wants to see more of.
“We all know the player he is. He’s an elite talent,” Hannay said.
“Just probably hasn’t, through his inability to stay on the field this year, been able to build his game and show his best.
“I have no doubt that if we can continue to keep him on the park for the remainder of this year, we will only continue to see the best of him.”
Hannay said he’s had detailed discussions with the Holmes about his running game – with a modest return of two tries in eight games before Sunday’s match.
“Fullback is a little new to him and he might have been guilty of falling into the trap of thinking that he has got to be a ball player first and a runner second,” Hannay said.
“His strength is his running game and when he runs the football he has got that ability to break tackles and create off his run rather than off his pass.
“He’ll get that balance right as he plays that position more.”