NRL’s $5.8m man thrown under the bus
Former NRL star Jamie Soward has ripped into North Queensland coach Paul Green for picking Valentine Holmes after the 24-year-old injured his ankle during the Cowboys' 42-16 loss to the Roosters last night.
Holmes was shafted from fullback to the wing as teenage sensation Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was instead given the No. 1 jersey. The move was sparked because the Cowboys thought Holmes was struggling at the back after hurting his ankle against the Warriors in round five, and believed he'd be more protected on the flank.
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Unfortunately, 41 minutes into the game he twisted his ankle and is now facing a stint on the sidelines.
Dragons premiership-winner Soward said the Cowboys have nobody to blame but themselves for Holmes' injury, adamant Green was wrong to roll the dice on his trump card.
Players always want to play. Even when injured I always wanted to play. At the end of the day a STRONG coach will do what’s best for the player and not worry about the team because he knows playing a guy injured isn’t for everyone. If vals out a long time now.... then wat?— Jamie Soward (@sowwowofficial6) July 9, 2020
Where’s the reward. Playing him injured to make it worse for a team that’s not making the 8. #green maybe trying to save job.— Jamie Soward (@sowwowofficial6) July 9, 2020
Green defended himself when asked if he'd made a mistake by picking Holmes.
"He got jammed up in a tackle as well which didn't help given he had a sore ankle to start with," Green said.
"He got passed (fit) last week to play and pulled up good (this week), so yeah."
Holmes was the world's best winger when he was playing for Cronulla, becoming a try-scoring machine for Queensland and Australia. But he quit the Sharks to chase a career in the NFL, only to return to rugby league with the Cowboys when his fling with the New York Jets didn't work out.
Holmes, who hails from North Queensland, came home on a monster deal reportedly worth $5.8 million over six years. Despite his freakish talents on the wing, he wanted to play fullback and the Cowboys were happy to pay him the big bucks reserved for key position players.
However, Holmes hasn't found the form that made him such a weapon at Cronulla. He is still finding his feet in the NRL and is yet to become the dominant fullback the Cowboys need.
North Queensland is 11th on the table with just three wins from nine games, and its 26-point thumping by the Roosters comes a week after being thrashed 42-4 by Parramatta.
Originally published as NRL's $5.8m man thrown under the bus