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The Sharks celebrate Valentine Holmes's crucial try in Round 8.

It's not often a played like Valentine Holmes doubts himself, but the Sharks winger admitted to that he second-guessed himself after making a break in the closing stages of the tense 20-18 win over the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. 

It wasn't the first time the Sharks speedster had found himself in the clear in 2016, with Holmes snaring two long-range interceptions against the Storm and Tigers in consecutive weeks only to be run down on both occasions.

Holmes says those missed opportunities – especially the former when he was chased down by Storm halfback Cooper Cronk – had played on his mind when he was in the clear on Sunday.

"Yeah it was a relief to get there tonight," a thankful Holmes told after Sunday's match. 

"I've been caught the past couple of games when making a break so I was determined to get there. I reckon I should have got there [against the Storm] but I was just happy to get there today."


The 73rd-minute runaway try came from nowhere with the Sharks pinned inside their own 20-metre zone midway through the tackle count. 

Holmes received an early ball from Jack Bird, beat Josh Mansour for pace on the inside, and then fended away from Panthers halfback Jamie Soward before streaking away to cross for his third try in as many games. 

"I just saw a big gap… I was surprised Moylan (Panthers fullback Matt Moylan) wasn't there at the back," the 20-year-old said.

"I wasn't really planning on doing that actually. I was just looking to get a few metres off Birdy (Sharks centre Jack Bird) from an early shift because they were tightening up to try to bash us in the middle. 

"I saw Josh Mansour was pretty wide because Luke Lewis pulled wide, so I just changed my line and ran straight. Birdy saw me do that and he just hit me with the short ball."

Had Holmes not scored the try and the scores remained level, the highly-skilled winger said he would have been willing to step up and kick a field goal if called upon.

Holmes slotted three drop goals in 2015 – including two in golden point extra-time – but that was before the new halves combination of James Maloney and Chad Townsend joined the Sharks in the off-season. 

"I'm always up for it, but we've got two very good halves that have been around for a while," Holmes said. 

"I always train with them but I'm the third option in games. If they're under pressure then I'll be there [to take the shot]."

Holmes's try ended up being enough to earn Cronulla their fifth straight win to set up a tantalising clash against the table-topping Broncos at home on Sunday afternoon.

The Sharks flyer said confidence was building in the Shire ahead of the bumper clash with Brisbane.  

"This will be the biggest challenge for us this season. They're going really well at the top of the table, but coming off a win like that I'm sure the boys will be heaps confident for that game."



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