After he was overlooked for Game One, the Cronulla sensation has been handed his Origin debut in place of Corey Oates, as Queensland prepare to save the series in Sydney next week.
While questions hovered over whether or not Origin I winger Oates deserved the sack after a strong performance in the series opener, the Queensland selectors remained confident they had found the man to strike fear into the hearts of NSW.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters said former second-rower Oates was overlooked for Holmes because the 21-year-old was a genuine winger.
But he also said Holmes’ time had come to prove his worth in the Origin arena.
“We just think Valentine’s a genuine speedster, a genuine flyer and an exciting young player that deserves an opportunity at the next level,” Walters said.
“Corey has been a winger that’s been manufactured over time ... he’s had four really good games for Queensland but we felt the time was right for Valentine Holmes.
“He’s the current Australian winger. Leaving him on the sidelines was probably not the right option for us for Game Two.
“He’s doing everything. I don’t think he can do any more than what he has.
“He deserves an opportunity to show what he can do at this level.”
While there is no doubt Holmes deserves his call-up, many fans and critics were left confused by the demotion of Oates.
Walters said, however, the towering winger’s Origin career was not over.
Selector Gene Miles also conceded Oates had done nothing wrong, but they simply wanted to give Holmes his shot.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Miles said of Oates.
“He came up with zero mistakes, carted the ball back well for us, scored a good try and in his previous three games last year he was fine as well.
“That was a tough call. Corey is 22 and his State of Origin career isn’t over. This will be a bitter pill to swallow for him but he’ll suck it up and get on with it.
“We’ll be looking for plenty of effort (from Holmes).”
- The Courier Mail