Cowboys recruit Valentine Holmes admits that he won't just walk back into the Queensland Maroons side this year but remains confident he can return to the electric club form he showcased in 2018 season at fullback.
Holmes's brilliance with the ball will be a great asset to the Cowboys, who struggled for points in 2019, and he believes he can complement the attacking wares of a back five that boasts Kyle Feldt, new signing Esan Marsters and 2015 premiership winner Justin O'Neill.
After a year in the United States with the New York Jets the 24-year-old has returned to the NRL where he last played in 2018. That season he scored 22 tries for the Sharks and played mostly in his preferred position of fullback where his incisions gave the side attacking potency.
"It is something I would like to bring. We have got some really good outside backs who can really break open a game and I feel like I can add into that and hopefully I get back to my form when I played at the back end of 2018, if not better," Holmes said.
"I am really confident in the back five that we have and everyone knows how good our forward pack is.
"I feel really comfortable at the back which is something I probably lacked a little bit at the Sharks as I was a younger and still learning.
All of Valentine Holmes' tries from 2018
"Having that main year in 2018 playing fullback I feel like I know what I am doing now and what it takes to be a fullback.
"I haven't had to tweak it too much. At the Sharks we had edge back-rowers that like to play a lot but we are getting some good combinations with the edge back-rowers here. It is all pretty similar."
Holmes has been named in an extended 33-man Maroons squad which will go into camp in Brisbane in February. He scored eight tries in the five Origin games that he played in 2017-18 and will likely slot back in on the wing this season for Queensland.
"[Kevin Walters] has reached out and is obviously excited to have me back playing NRL and for the Cowboys. I feel like he has a soft spot for the Cowboys," Holmes said.
"I know I am not going to walk back in to the Queensland team as there are a lot good players. Feldty is training really well and playing really well and there's Oatesy [Corey Oates] and Gags [Dane Gagai].
"There are a lot of players to compete with. Hopefully I can push for a spot there."
Holmes, who has also scored 17 tries in 13 Tests for Australia, has had no trouble slotting back in to NRL training and said he was pleased with his progress fitness-wise.
"I thought maybe I would have been a bit sore coming from running short bursts into full contact and long distance running but the trainers are looking after me. I always feel good when I am out there training," he said.
"I am pretty much the same weight now as when I left. It wasn't about having to change my body apart from the cardiovascular side of things which I can pick up quite easily here because you've got to work harder.
"I feel as though I will be good to go for the season. I am having some really good days and learning a lot about how these guys play inside me or outside me."
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