Skipper Paul Gallen reckons Cronulla teammate Valentine Holmes is an NRL superstar in the making, predicting he’ll one day play State of Origin and international football.
Holmes was pivotal in the Sharks’ dramatic 21-20 win over Canberra at GIO Stadium on Saturday, scoring a try and nailing the match-winning field goal in extra-time.
Gallen said the 19-year-old was always going to be the one to kick.
“He’s a superstar kid,” the NSW and Australian veteran said.
“He’s a tryscorer, he’s a match-winner.
“Sometimes he comes up with errors, but when he gets that consistency about him, he’ll probably be an international and Origin player one day.
“We’re working on getting that in him at the moment.
“He’s certainly a player of the future.”
Gallen was influential as ever in his 250th match, making 24 runs for 215m and 36 tackles.
But it was prop Andrew Fifita who led the charge with a game-high 219m from 22 hitups, plus a try.
The victory has boosted the Sharks’ hopes of playing in the finals, after starting the year with four consecutive losses.
They play Canterbury at Belmore next Sunday, a side they’re level on points with following the Bulldogs’ 28-4 demolition of Parramatta on Friday.
“It’s a really important time of the season and every game’s going to be hard,” said coach Shane Flanagan.
“There’s always teams fighting for respectability at the bottom of the table, some teams fighting to get into the eight, there’s some teams figting to stay in the eight, and there’s some teams right up the top fighting for the minor premiership.
“So there’s little battles going on everywhere.”
Utility Ben Barba was a late scratching from Saturday’s match after hurting his knee during training.
Flanagan was confident he will be fit next round.
“It’s not too bad … he had a bit of a clash with another player, knee on knee, so he’ll be fine for next week,” he added.