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Cronulla coach tips Origin omission to spark Shark

Valentine Holmes (left) will line up for the Sharks against the Bulldogs on Saturday after being overlooked by Queensland State of Origin selectors.
Valentine Holmes (left) will line up for the Sharks against the Bulldogs on Saturday after being overlooked by Queensland State of Origin selectors. DAN HIMBRECHTS

RUGBY LEAGUE: Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has warned Bulldogs players that Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes is primed to come out firing when the two teams do battle on Saturday.

Despite representing Australia against New Zealand earlier this month, Holmes has been overlooked for Wednesday night's State of Origin opener in Brisbane with Queensland selectors opting for Corey Oates and Dane Gagai.

Flanagan insists Holmes took his representative snub graciously but expects the 21-year-old will be looking to point a prove in Saturday's NRL clash against Canterbury.

"He's a really determined young kid," Flanagan said.

"He hasn't taken it in a negative way. That's life, that's football. He understands why. It was explained to him really well why he wasn't in the team. He accepted that and moved on."

Holmes' availability has strengthened the Sharks line-up for the Bulldogs clash while retired Blues skipper Paul Gallen is set to play his first club game during Origin since 2010.

Flanagan admitted Gallen has missed the Origin build-up.

"I think he's missing it, the hype about Origin. Players like that, when they retire from the game, or just retire from the rep arena, they do miss it," he said.

"He'll definitely miss it on Wednesday night when he's up there watching it.

"It is a bit different having Gal around this Origin period. His leadership this week's been great. We've got an added bonus with Val there as well. We didn't expect to have Val this week."

The Sharks have four players on Origin duty with James Maloney, Jack Bird, Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham included in the NSW side along with Bulldogs trio David Klemmer, Josh Jackson and Brett Morris.

Topics:  canterbury bulldogs cronulla sharks nrl rugby league shane flanagan state of origin 2017 valentine holmes

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