The Sharks will begin their 2016 season as they ended their last campaign, in North Queensland against the Cowboys side that went on to win the premiership. It's a game that will be especially significant for young gun Valentine Holmes.
Holmes – a Townsville junior – will be out for revenge in front of his family and friends after failing to return in the second half of his side's 39-0 semi final loss to the Cowboys due to a corked quadriceps.
"I was pumped to get into pre-season with the boys. It's fun to come into training every day. Especially with the way my season ended," Holmes told NRL.com.
"I couldn't go on after half-time [in the loss to the Cowboys]. It was the first finals series I'd ever played in so for it to end like that was pretty devastating for me.
"Being from Townsville, and not being able to play [the whole game] in front of my family too, hurt me because I definitely love playing up there in front of my friends and family."
The Sharks' recruiting drive this off-season has seen Michael Gordon, Jeff Robson and Anthony Tupou leave the club while Jesse Sene-Lefao, Joseph Paulo and the returning Chad Townsend join the fold, but Holmes was quick to praise the club's biggest signing of 2016 – former Roosters five-eighth James Maloney.
"Jimmy has played a big part of pre-season already, he's our main half – pretty much what Robbo [Jeff Robson] was last year. James is a great leader, and it's been great to learn off him," Holmes said.
"You can just tell when James is on the training paddock, when he says something to the group, everybody listens. Everybody takes it in because they know what to expect from him with him being such a high profile player – he's doing a lot here."
Holmes is keen to take on the fullback role vacated by Gordon but isn't worried if he is initially overlooked for the No.1 jersey as long as he is in the team.
"I've always wanted to play fullback but if it means I'm benefiting the team to be on the wing then I'm happy to, just as long as I'm playing in the NRL," he said.
"I'm easy doing whatever helps. It's what footy is about, you have to compete in every position and we're all mates here so we're all just happy to have any place in first grade."