Holmes out to inspire future Maroons
Queensland winger Valentine Holmes hopes to inspire the next generation of Maroons after scoring a hat-trick in just his second State of Origin match.
Holmes was on fire during Wednesday night's decider, running for 123 metres and making five tackles busts in Queensland's comprehensive 22-6 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
At just 21 years of age, it wasn't too long ago that Holmes was sitting in his lounge room watching the likes of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater run rings around the New South Wales Blues.
Now he has won an Origin series with them and the Cronulla Shark still could not believe it when he spoke to NRL.com after the match.
"It's awesome [scoring a hat-trick]. It's a dream come true to play on this stage, let alone score three tries in a match.
"I was lucky enough that the guys inside me pulled off some classy stuff with the ball. I got pretty lucky getting the ball down but I'm stoked.
"This is what dreams are made of. There will be kids at home inspired to play with these guys when they grow up and that's what I always wanted to do when I was younger.
"All I wanted to do was play alongside these legends. To be able to do that now and to get my first series win is something else. I'll never forget it.
"Hopefully I can keep my spot and keep this jersey."
Holmes was one of eight Queenslanders to debut this series, with Anthony Milford, Cameron Munster, Jarrod Wallace, Dylan Napa, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess and Ben Hunt all joining him as first-timers in Camp Maroon.
Somehow the Maroons won again, making it another series loss for New South Wales.
This was the worst-case scenario for the Blues who fancied their chances against an inexperienced Maroons side that had three different five-eighths during the series.
But Queensland again stood up when it counted most, winning another match and another series to make it 11 victories in 12 years.
They did so missing some big names, with Johnathan Thurston and Darius Boyd out of Game Three due to injury, and Matt Scott and Greg Inglis missing the whole series due to season-ending injuries suffered at the start of the year.
The Maroons won the series by using generation next and Holmes is keen to continue Queensland's dynasty into next year.
"I'm definitely hungry to come back next year and do it all again," he said
"I want to keep my jersey and keep playing at Origin level.
"It's awesome to be here celebrating a victory alongside all these guys. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling."