Family and friendship could take Val home
MICHAEL Morgan has emerged as the key figure in North Queensland's pursuit of Valentine Holmes after the Maroons star revealed he was trying to convince the Sharks dynamo to join the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are set to make a multimillion-dollar play to snare Holmes from Cronulla in 2020 to rejuvenate their team at fullback.
The 23-year-old Test and Origin star is one of the form players in the NRL finals series and holds the key to Cronulla's chances of beating Penrith in Thursday night's semi-final at Allianz Stadium.
Cronulla have launched a $4 million bid to keep Holmes in The Shire, however Morgan may be the man to lure him north in a move which could anger Sharks officials.
Morgan and Holmes have become close friends from their Townsville roots, the fact their partners are sisters and representing Queensland and Australia together.
Morgan, 26, will become the king of the north next year following Johnathan Thurston's retirement and admitted he was trying to convince Holmes to come back to Townsville.
"I have spoken to him about it," Morgan told The Courier-Mail.
"I'd love him to come back. My partner would love her sister to come home. I hope it all works out, we'll wait and see. That would be nice."
If North Queensland can prise Holmes from Cronulla it would be one of the biggest signing coups in recent years.
Holmes' form has exploded in the back end of the season, with the elusive No. 1 scoring 21 tries this year and running for 295m in Cronulla's loss to the Roosters last week.
Cowboys coach Paul Green will shake-up his spine by adding 2012 Dally M Medal champion Ben Barba into the mix next season and Holmes' potential arrival in 2020 would give North Queensland another attacking dimension.
The Cowboys lacked spark in a disappointing season this year, finishing 13th, and Morgan said Holmes could add plenty to the mix.
"He adds x-factor," Morgan said.
"He has shown this year he is a real strike player.
"That might be something we missed this year, players that can turn half an opportunity into something.
"When you have a couple of guys like that…we've missed that at times.
"Val is that kind of player. He has shown that. Hopefully he comes home."
The retired Thurston said Townsville-raised Holmes would be not just an on-field star for the Cowboys, but also an off-field marketing tool.
"Val would be a great signing," he said.
"He is a try-scoring machine and he would add a lot to our organisation, not only on the field but off the field as well.
"I'd love to see him back at the club.
"I did a bit of work with him in Origin last year. The World Cup and State of Origin has given him that self-belief that he belongs in the rep arena. He just has this knack of finding the tryline."
Thurston's retirement will see Morgan shift into the North Queensland No. 7 jersey next season while Jake Clifford and Te Maire Martin will likely battle for the five-eighth duties with Barba at fullback.