Valentine Holmes has revealed Queensland have tapped into his inside knowledge of Cronulla teammate Andrew Fifita in order to stop the NSW wrecking ball in State of Origin II.
Holmes said the Blues prop had occupied a lot of the Maroons’ attention after Fifita ran amok in the Blues’ 28-4 game one victory at Suncorp Stadium.
In a performance that’s been likened to Queensland great Arthur Beetson and called the best Origin performance in the 27-year history of the interstate series, Fifita ran for 168 metres, scored one try, had another try assist and busted seven tackles.
Melbourne forward, and noted defender, Tim Glasby is expected to start at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night after being drafted into the Maroons side to help nullify Fifita’s influence.
Holmes, who will debut for his state after earning his first Australian Test cap last year, said Queensland coach Kevin Walters and his staff had spent a lot of time focusing on Fifita and attempting to quell his rampant running game.
“We were talking more about Andrew Fifita, he played really well against us,” Holmes told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.
“It was more about controlling his leg speed and to hit together and stop his offloads. He’s got a good offload on him and he runs the ball very awkwardly.
“He’s a very hard person to tackle. He’s the main person we’re worried about and obviously the two halves (James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce) as well.”
The influence of Cronulla’s premiership-winning side was clearly visible in NSW’s game one win with Fifita, Maloney, back-rower Wade Graham and utility Jack Bird playing key roles and their combinations paying dividends.
Holmes will be one of five Sharks on the park on Wednesday night, however, the lone Cronulla player in the Queensland line up.
The 21-year-old said he would take great pride in getting the better of Maloney and Fifita.
Asked which of his teammates he most wanted to beat, he said: “Probably Andrew and James Maloney.
“Wadeo and Birdie are pretty proud of me.”