Holmes wins mental fight

Thursday April 20, 2017 Written by Published in League
Valentine Holmes says he has overcome his mental battle. 17041916 Valentine Holmes says he has overcome his mental battle. 17041916

All rugby league players will tell you of the mental struggles coming back from an injury regardless of the amount of time out of the game.


Whether it is a short-term layoff or a six-month recovery process, the extent of doubt in a player's mind varies but is always floating around upon a return. 

It was a case of mind over matter for Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes after missing the opening two games of the Telstra Premiership as he recovered from a hamstring strain suffered in the pre-season. Despite the injury considered minor for Holmes, that didn't stop the Australian international from creating fear in his mind during his first fortnight back on the field.

"The first couple of weeks my head was thinking otherwise so I was weary and hesitant about whether I would be right while I was playing," Holmes told NRL.com.

"I got a bit of help from 'Flanno' (Sharks coach Shane Flanagan) as he put me onto the wing to start back before I moved [into the No.1 jersey] to ease my way into returning.

"Once I could beat those thoughts in my head it was easier to play at 100 per cent.

"I think that's what nearly all players will tell you, it's a sport where you have to be mentally strong as well as physically, and in a key position like fullback now I need to ensure my head is right more than ever."

Now three games into his career as the Sharks' newest fullback, the 21-year-old has averaged over 203 metres in the custodian role and has quickly returned to peak form that helped deliver Cronulla their maiden premiership last season.

While he has already represented Australia, the opportunity to play for Queensland is still yet to be achieved after Holmes was forced to sit out the 2016 series due to an indiscretion.

Now a year on and Holmes is eyeing off a maiden Maroons jersey and isn't fussed which position he is selected in, just as long as he's there.

"The start of the year I wrote it down as one of my key goals, it's a very hard team to make and not something you can just walk into," he said.

"With Billy and Darius there I'm happy to play on the wing and after a few years with the Sharks in that position I'm more than accustomed to that role."

The Sharks take on a Gold Coast Titans outfit on the end of four-straight losses but who could welcome back Jarryd Hayne, with the former Australian international a chance to be named in Neil Henry's 21-man squad for the trip to the shire.

            - NRL

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