Holmes not yet a first grader
Despite a first-half double against the Tigers capping an impressive six weeks in the top flight for electric Sharks winger Valentine Holmes, coach James Shepherd believes the youngster is still not ready for regular first grade.
Holmes bagged both of Cronulla's tries in their 26-10 defeat on a soggy Saturday afternoon at Leichhardt and proved a constant thorn in the Tigers left-side defence. The 19-year-old Maroons junior rep recently inked a two-year extension on his current deal that will keep him in the Shire until the end of 2017.
But despite the Townsville-born flyer earning plenty of plaudits in the six outings since an auspicious debut against the Eels in Round 21, Shepherd cautioned that he was still a way off commanding a week-in, week-out starting spot.
"He's one of a number of boys who have been a positive, but he's not ready for regular first grade," Shepherd said.
"He'll hate me saying that, but he's got further development to come.
"He's a real exciting young player who needs some time to keep developing and we hope to give him that opportunity through the pre-season and obviously next year he'll push for first grade. Maybe not play the whole year but that's up to the coach."
The Sharks looked on track to salvage a consolation win from their season of woe when they led the Tigers 10-4 at the break, but 22 unanswered points from the home side consigned the wooden spooners to a sixth straight defeat.
Shepherd was left lamenting a slew of 21 errors that effectively played the Sharks out of the match.
"[It was] obviously a disappointing second half," Shepherd said.
"I thought they played better in the conditions in that second half.
"They realised it was a wet weather game and just ran a bit harder and a bit straighter and got that momentum early and didn't let it go."
Stand-in skipper Jeff Robson denied the Sharks had felt the effects of a short five-day turnaround from their golden point loss to the Cowboys on Monday night, and also highlighted the Sharks' poor handling as a key factor in the 16-point loss.
"We had a pretty light week at training and came into the game pretty fresh," Robson said.
"We turned over way too much ball in the conditions, tried to play dry weather footy in that wet weather and just made way too many errors."