Sharks want Holmes to return if NFL gamble fails
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Sharks want Holmes to return if NFL gamble fails

Should Valentine Holmes' NFL dream fall short next year and he returns to the NRL, Cronulla are expected to make sure he returns to play in the Sutherland Shire.

Holmes is reportedly prepared to quit rugby league and try his luck in American football.

Valentine Holmes is reportedly looking at continuing his career in the NFL.

Valentine Holmes is reportedly looking at continuing his career in the NFL.Credit:AAP

Sharks officials confirmed they would meet with Holmes' management on Wednesday to learn about the potential bombshell move.

Holmes, 23, was widely expected to play with Cronulla next year and then return home to Townsville to play with North Queensland and his good friend Michael Morgan. He has repeatedly spoken about the benefits of him and his partner being closer to family.

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Should Holmes' expected US gamble backfire, Fairfax Media understands it is unlikely the NRL will allow him to play for any other club but the Sharks in 2019.

Jarryd Hayne was allowed return to the NRL after June 30 in 2016 but only because he had gone to the NFL with Parramatta's blessing and had been out of the game more than 18 months, having played eight games with the San Francisco 49ers.

Cronulla are understood to be ready to dig their heels in to ensure the only colours Holmes wears in the NRL next year will be theirs.

Holmes, who has just returned from the US and Cuba, will not jeopardise his Kangaroos hopes and always be welcomed back into the national team, said coach Mal Meninga.

Meninga also backed Holmes to pick up the game much quicker than Hayne.

"I've only seen the reports. I'd love to see him stay in the game obviously but good on him, he's only young and living out a dream," Meninga said.

"If it doesn't work out - and I hope it does because it will be good for our game - there is a home back here. I'd imagine clubs will be knocking down his door if he comes back.

"He's an athlete but also understands the game really well. He's intelligent enough to pick it up and he obviously follows it closely."

Former NFL Australian player Colin Scotts said Holmes could make it as a wide receiver and San Francisco, Seattle and Philadelphia would all be ideal franchises because of their first-hand experience with Australian players.

By Holmes leaving immediately Scotts said he would give himself the best chance to work on his skills and put himself on the radar of scouts.

Scotts said Holmes was already known after he and Jason Taumalolo trialled for scouts in Los Angeles two years ago.

"He's got speed and he's beautifully balanced. He's definitely lacking size but he can put that on,'' Scotts said.

"If he goes now and is fully committed and trains for two or three months, finds the best trainers, he could possibly be a receiver. He'll have to add five to 10kg and that's lean muscle, and make sure he doesn't lose his leap.

"He'll only come back faster and stronger [if it doesn't work out]."

Not long after Holmes and Taumalolo returned clubs spoke about inserting clauses into player contracts to prevent then trialling with rival codes like the NFL. The move had the backing of NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg.

"We do not believe they should try their hand at another code and expect to come back to rugby league if it doesn't work out," Greenberg said at the time.

Sharks chief Barry Russell will meet with Holmes and his management in the coming days.

"The Sharks are not in a position to make any further comment at this time but will provide more details once they become available," the club said.

North Queensland, who are free to offer Holmes a deal, announced on Monday they had signed Brisbane's Josh McGuire to a four-year deal starting immediately. They are also privately monitoring Holmes' potential NFL attempt.

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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