Valentine Holmes: From Origin exile to test debut

Valentine Holmes of the Sharks in action. Photo / Getty Images
Valentine Holmes of the Sharks in action. Photo / Getty Images

From Origin exile to Premiership winner and a Test debut, Valentine Holmes has come full circle in 2016.

Holmes has been named to make his Test debut for Australia against New Zealand on Perth on Saturday night as one of three rookies in Mal Meninga's side.

The Cronulla flyer will be joined in the 17 by Canberra prop Shannon Boyd and Dragons forward Tyson Frizell.

The 21-year old shapes as one of Australia's trump cards in the Four Nations and Cameron Smith knows first hand just how dynamic Holmes can be with ball in hand.

"I played against him a couple of weeks ago and found that out," Smith said.

"He's another one of many exciting young players in our competition at the moment. Its not just a token Test cap, he's played extremely well this year."

Smith also lauded Holmes in rebounding from the Camp Maroon scandal that saw the Townsville product banned from making a potential Origin debut this season.

"It was a huge disappointment for himself earlier in the year, not being available for State of Origin," Smith said.

"He would have come quite close in that series, I believe, to be in that team.

"But the best thing about Valentine is that he put that behind him, he put his head down and he worked extremely hard to put himself in this position he's in now."

Meninga said the inclusion of "human pinball" Shannon Boyd was aimed at meeting the monstrous New Zealand pack head on.

He also praised the attitude of the three rookies as he continues to bring an injection of youth into the ageing Australian side.

"Big Shannon is a big body. The Kiwi pack is a pretty awesome pack, a big pack, very mobile, so we're out to try and match that in our capacity," Meninga said.

"We're trying to instil that in the young fellas and they've taken fair ownership over it.

"As far as performance is concerned, they don't really have to do anything different to what they do week to week.

"They're playing with some extraordinary and talented players and all they really have to do is do their job and make sure they're at the top of their game and their preparation has been good during the week."

- news.com.au

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