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Cowboys sign Holmes on long-term deal

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have agreed to a six-year contract with Valentine Holmes – effective immediately and running through the 2025 season.

Holmes was released by the NFL’s New York Jets yesterday after spending the 2019 season on their practice squad as an International Pathways Player.

The 24-year-old played 105 NRL games across five seasons for the Cronulla Sharks between 2014 and 2018.

Holmes was a crucial member of the Sharks’ maiden premiership-winning outfit in 2016, scoring 19 tries in 26 games.

His most recent season in the NRL before departing for the USA was arguably his best. Playing the majority of his games at fullback, Holmes scored a remarkable 22 tries in just 26 games in 2018 and led the NRL with 26 line-breaks. He also claimed the 2018 Sharks’ Player of the Year and Player’s Player awards.

In total, Holmes crossed for 66 tries in his 105 NRL appearances and also booted 51 goals from 69 attempts at a 74 per cent success rate.

Despite being just 23 upon departing the NRL, Holmes had already built an extraordinary representative resume.

The Western Lions Townsville junior crossed for eight tries in just five State of Origin appearances for Queensland, including a hat-trick in the series-clinching 2017 Game Three victory over NSW.

In 13 Tests for Australia, Holmes registered 17 tries, six of which came in a historic performance against Fiji in the 2017 World Cup.

“This is a wonderful signing for our club,” Cowboys Director of Football Peter Parr said.

“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.”

Holmes’ training commencement date will be decided in the coming days.