Cowboys ready to put Holmes on trial
From the glamour of New Jersey's MetLife Stadium to steamy Cairns - Val Holmes is expected to swing back into rugby league this Saturday night.
The Daily Telegraph has been told Holmes is likely to be chosen for his first game back in the NRL in North Queensland's trial match against Brisbane at Barlow Park, Cairns.
It will be Holmes' first NRL game in 519 days after returning to Australia following his to earn a full-time contract with NFL franchise the New York Jets.
It may not be the 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium, home of the Jets, but officials are hoping for a crowd of between 10,000 to 15,000 for the all-Queensland trial in Cairns.
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"It's like he has never been away," said North Queensland football manager Peter Parr. "He looks good at training, strength, speed, endurance, all terrific. He hasn't missed a beat.
"We have been delighted with everything Val has done. He is usually first here at training. Val has been outstanding. The proof will be in the pudding but everything we have seen suggests he will come back as good as ever."
A final decision on whether Holmes is chosen will be made later in the week but it's more than likely he will play around 50 to 60 minutes from fullback.
"We're not expecting too much from him when he does play, we're not expecting miracles," Parr said. "We will ease him back but we expect him to play pretty well."
In other trial news:
* Parramatta will play recruit Reagan Campbell-Gillard for around 20 minutes in a trial against South Sydney at Wentworthville on Friday night.
* Wests Tigers will select recruit Adam Doueihi at fullback for a trial against Penrith at Panthers Stadium on Saturday night. Fellow Tigers recruit Joey Leilua will be rested along with other big names players including Moses Mbye, Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks. Josh Reynolds will play.
* Recruit Brodie Croft will pay his first game for Brisbane against the Cowboys on Saturday evening.
* Cronulla have resisted picking newcomer Jesse Ramien for a trial against Canterbury in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Restless teammate Josh Morris will also be rested.
* Dragons coach Paul McGregor has decided to rest Trent Merrin for Saturday's trial against Newcastle in Maitland. Issac Luke, another Dragons recruit, will play for Maori All Stars on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
Eels coach Brad Arthur confirmed Campbell-Gillard would play but will rest fellow newcomer Ryan Matterson, who contested the Nines in Perth.
"'Reg' will play about 20 minutes - I want him to get out there and make a couple of runs and a couple of tackles," Arthur told The Daily Telegraph. "If he's feeling alright he might go another five minutes.
"It's about blowing that first wind and blowing out the cobwebs. It's a new club for him. The next week (a trial against Penrith in Bega) we will increase him to 45 to 50 minutes."
Wests Tigers recruit Luciano Leilua is expected to play this weekend.
EELS V RABBITOHS
Fri 21 Feb, Ringrose Park, Sydney, 7pm
TITANS V BURLEIGH
Fri 21 Feb, Pizzey Park, Gold Coast, 8pm
Titans: 1. Jonus Pearson, 2. Dale Copley, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Greg Leleisiuao, 6. Toby Sexton, 7. Tanah Boyd, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Erin Clark, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Sam Stone, 12. Kea Pere, 13. Darius Farmer. Interchange: 14. Jaimin Joliiffe, 15. Jerry Key, 16. Tristan Powell, 17. Jayden Campbell, 18. Treymain Spry, 19. Ioane Seiuli, 20. Alofi Khan-Pereira, 21. Jed Edwards
BRONCOS V WYNNUM MANLY
Fri 21 Feb, Kitchener Park, Wynnum, 8pm
Wynnum Manly: TBC
STORM V WARRIORS
Sat 22 Feb, Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North, 3pm
Storm: Dan Atkinson, James Atonio, Sam Bernstrom, Aaron Booth, Sandor Earl, Tom Eisenhuth, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Harry Grant, Nicho Hynes, Dean Ieremia, Ryley Jacks, Cooper Johns, Max King, Brenko Lee, Chris Lewis, Trent Loiero, Siti Moceidreke, Jay Natapu, Justin Olam, Jack Peoples, Darryn Schonig, Marion Seve, Judda Turahui, Albert Vete
KNIGHTS V DRAGONS
Sat 22 Feb, Maitland Sports Ground, 5.30pm
Dragons: Euan Aitken, Eddie Blacker, Adam Clune, Mathew Feagai, Max Feagai, Jackson Ford, Tyson Frizell, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ben Hunt, Jacob Host, Tim Lafai, Blake Lawrie, Hayden Lomax, Zac Lomax, Joe Lovodua, Corey Norman, Jordan Pereira, Mikaele Ravalawa, Jason Saab, Tristan Sailor, Shaun Sauni-Esau, Tariq Sims, Jayden Sullivan, Paul Vaughan, Brayden Wiliame, Tyran Wishart.
SHARKS V BULLDOGS
Sat 22 Feb, PNG Football Stadium, Port Moresby, 6pm
Sharks: Bill Magoulias, William Kennedy, Brock Gray, Jonaiah Lualua, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Franklin Pele, Jackson Ferris, Teig Wilton, Royce Hunt, Kyle Paterson, Tom Hazelton, Connor Tracey, Cameron King, Sione Katoa,
Wesley Lolo, Vito Tevaga, Lorenzo Mulitalo, Kayleb Milne, Braydon Trindall, Scott Sorensen, Siosifa Talakai, Toby Rudolf, Connor Luhan
Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate, 2. Jayden Okunbor, 3. Reimis Smith, 4. Morgan Harper, 5. Jake Averillo, 6. Lachlan Lewis, 7. Jack Cogger, 8. Renouf To'omaga, 9. Sione Katoa, 10. Dylan Napa, 11. Joe Stimson, 12. Dean Britt, 13. Aiden Tolman, 14. Brandon Wakeham, 15. Ofahiki Ogden, 16. Tui Katoa, 17. Isaiah Tass, 19. Bailey Biondi-Odo, 20. Matt Doorey
BRONCOS V COWBOYS
Sat 22 Feb, Barlow Park, Cairns, 8pm
Broncos: 1. Jack Bird, 2. Herbie Farnworth, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Jesse Arthars, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Tevita Pangai Jnr, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn (c), 12. Ethan Bullemor, 13. Patrick Carrigan. Interchange: 14. Jamayne Isaako, 15. Richie Kennar, 16. Tesi Niu, 17. Tom Dearden, 18. Cory Paix, 19. Thomas Flegler, 20. Joe Ofahengaue, 21. Rhys Kennedy, 22. Jamil Hopoate
ALL STARS: INDIGENOUS v MAORI
Sat 22 Feb, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast, 8.10pm
Indigenous squad: Latrell Mitchell, Blake Ferguson, James Roberts, Jesse Ramien, Josh Addo-Carr, Jack Wighton, Tyrone Roberts, Josh Kerr, Nathan Peats, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Joel Thompson, Wade Graham, David Fifita, Connor Watson, Chris Smith, Zac Saddler, Josh Curran, Alex Johnston, Tyrone Peachey, Tyrell Fuimaono.
Maori squad: Kalyn Ponga, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Esan Marsters, Dylan Walker, Bryson Goodwin, Kodi Nikorima, Jahrome Hughes, Jesse Bromwich, Brandon Smith, Jordan Riki, Kenny Bromwich, Briton Nikora, Corey Harawira-Naera, Issac Luke, Brad Takairangi, Zane Tetevano, Adam Blair, Kevin Proctor, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Pasami Saulo.