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Valentine is happy on the home front

On the field, 2019 was one of the biggest years in the life of Valentine Holmes, the athlete.

His acceptance into the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and subsequent signing in April by the New York Jets into their practice squad was widely reported, as were his training routines and warm-up games.

However, when asked about the year that was, the North Queensland Cowboys recruit was matter-of-fact in describing his biggest moment of the year.

“It was like a roller coaster of a year I guess, it was probably one of my best years – getting married and I got to do something that I wanted to do for a while,” Holmes said.

“It was a year where I learnt a lot, did a lot and experienced a lot of new things and obviously getting married was probably the highlight of it all, it was good.”

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Find someone who looks at you the way @nataliaaholmes does.🖤 @sbcreativeco_ 📸 @affinitydiamonds 💍

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Holmes, his wife Natalia and pug dog Leo recently purchased a new home, (“we have a front and back yard, so there is more than enough room for him to run around”), and it marks a new phase in his life.

“I’ll be up there (in Townsville) for a little while, so I wanted some stability in my life; always living in apartments, so I thought we’d change it up and we got ourselves a house.

“It does feel like home, it’s good to be back there (in North Queensland) and to see mum and dad more often, to see my family and friends and to be back there with my wife.

“And it’s a good spot, I really love it there and I am really excited to be back and am enjoying it.”

While many would be curious to pick his brain about his decision to uproot from his life in Sydney with the Cronulla Sharks and his journey to join the Jets, the laid back Holmes spoke as if it was simply the most natural thing in the world to chase a dream and hold no fear.

“I just thought it was something I could do, and I just knew if I could back myself into doing something that I feel that I can do, if I put my mind to something I feel like I can achieve it," Holmes said. 

While his time with the Jets also presented some challenges, Holmes said he learnt a lot about himself in his time away from rugby league.

“Just to be competitive in everything you do,” Holmes said.

“Going over there, they have a lot of people to compete with ... everyone is really working hard with what they do best, what position you are at and things like that.

“I feel like I have just grown up more as a person on and off the field.”

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Good to be back where it all started 🙌🏽

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Holmes is yet to play an NRL game upon his return to rugby league, but Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters showed confidence in the five-game Origin representative and selected him to be in this year’s Maroons squad.

“It’s good, it’s obviously a big privilege to be part of a State of Origin Queensland camp, to mix it with all these guys from all the other teams and it’s exciting and it’s good to be back,” Holmes said.

“It’s a nice feeling. It’s definitely good faith from him and obviously, he must back me from what I have done in the past few years, whether it’s for my club or for Queensland and it’s a big credit to him.

“I want to thank him for that and for backing me and giving me another shot, it’s awesome.”

The type of person who likes to live life in the moment, Holmes is not one to set long-term goals.

However, with the launch of the season rapidly approaching and the kick-off date for trial matches even closer, Holmes said he was looking forward to getting back onto the field.

“I think I will be playing in the trial games (with the Cowboys)," Holmes said.

"I need to get back into 13-13 a side and getting some full contact in and some real game-life feeling, (so I am) pretty excited for that.

“I’m not really a goals type of person, I don’t really like to set long-term goals because obviously things can happen halfway through and you don’t know what can happen that next day.

“But usually my go-to is to make the team and be consistent every day in everything I do, whether it’s training or playing, and play every game as if it’s my last.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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