Having already made their State of Origin debuts, Cronulla duo Wade Graham and Jack Bird are in line for Australian call-ups should the Sharks prevail in Sunday’s NRL grand final.
But veteran Luke Lewis believes it is prolific winger Valentine Holmes who will shine brightest against the Storm to move past his Queensland suspension – for a boozy night out during their emerging Origin camp – and snatch a deserved Kangaroos berth at the end-of-year Four Nations.
With 19 tries and 20 line breaks this season, Holmes has established himself as one of the premier outside backs in the competition and a key spark for the Sharks.
Which is why Lewis believes the 21-year-old can unseat incumbent wingers Blake Ferguson and Semi Radradra – with Sunday the perfect opportunity to showcase his skills, despite going tryless through the first three weeks of finals.
“100 per cent I can see him being key in the grand final and getting a rep jersey at the end of the year,” Lewis told AAP.
“He is a massive part of our side. He does a lot of work for us, he is a really good finisher just an all-round natural talent.
“I think he has played every game this year and I think he has played every one of those at his best and is up there with the best wingers in the game right now.”
Lewis hopes Holmes can help the Sharks end their near half-century hoodoo, but firmly believes they won’t be hindered by losses in the 1973, 1978 and 1997 deciders.
“I think that pressure comes from outside the club, not inside,” Lewis said of the perceived weight of history on the current playing group.
“All the great players that have been here and played in grand finals went out there and gave everything. But on the day it didn’t work for them, and that’s rugby league.
“We just need to turn up and give everything a red-hot crack for 80 minutes.
“But am I confident? Yeah, I’m very confident and excited.”