Holmes ready to bounce back to NRL best
He may still have one eye on the NFL but Valentine Holmes says nothing has distracted him from bouncing back to his best in a much-anticipated 2020 NRL return for North Queensland.
Not even "annoying" teammate Josh McGuire.
Holmes couldn't resist giving a tip for next month's Super Bowl clash when he addressed media in Townsville on Thursday, backing San Francisco 49ers to topple Kansas City Chiefs.
"Because they have been consistent all year," Holmes said.
But Holmes said his sole focus was picking up in the NRL where he left off after his failed bid to pursue his NFL dream with the New York Jets in 2019.
And the early signs are promising.
The former Cronulla flyer has seamlessly slotted into fullback during the Cowboys pre-season, saying it didn't take long for his body to adjust to NRL life after his NFL sojourn.
And before even playing a game on his lucrative six-year Cowboys deal, Holmes has already earned selection in Queensland's State of Origin full-strength training squad that will assemble for a February camp.
Indeed apart from a niggling McGuire, Holmes reckoned he had no complaints about his NRL return.
"No one has been pestering me. There's always Josh McGuire who is kind of annoying but other than that everyone has been pretty cool," Holmes said.
"I feel like I am picking up how they like to play and their combinations really well - I can't wait for the season ahead."
Holmes said his body had responded well to the rigours of a gruelling North Queensland pre-season and was confident of becoming a Cowboys X-factor in the No.1 jersey.
"It is something I would like to bring. Hopefully I get back to my form when I played at the end of 2018 if not better," he said.
"I feel really comfortable at the back. That's something I lacked at the Sharks when I was a bit younger and still learning ... but now I know what it takes to be a fullback.
"But I don't think I am the only guy who can break open a game (at Cowboys)."
Holmes may sound confident but he wasn't getting ahead of himself despite receiving a surprise call from Queensland coach Kevin Walters after the Maroons training squad announcement.
"He's reached out. He is excited to have me back playing in the NRL and playing for the Cowboys," he said.
"But I know I am not just going to walk back into the Queensland team ... but hopefully I can push for a spot there.
"I am also just worrying about playing well for the Cowboys."
Holmes said he was hopeful of making his Cowboys debut at February's NRL Nines in Perth.
© AAP 2020