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Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes is excelling at the back.

It was the simple quote that sums up the will and desire to lift the NRL Telstra Premiership in October.

Cronulla fullback Valentine Holmes understands the newest rivalry between the Sharks and Raiders after last year's qualifying final ended in controversy.

While the hostility between the premiers and Melbourne is well and truly alive, the Raiders too have history with the Sharks that stretches back to when Paul Gallen was hit off the ball by Josh Papalii in 2012. 

However, Holmes believes the real villain is another former teammate that is no longer around to add another chapter between the two sides. 

"I was unlucky not to play against them in Round 2 at the start of the year but ever since the finals or even before that Micky [Ennis] probably caused it," Holmes said at Sharks training. 

"They had the home advantage and were obviously thinking of a win but we went there and played one of our best games.

"We've got beef between us and Melbourne too because we've taken something that they wanted."

‌Ennis was of course responsible for mimicking the viking clap post-game to an irate and vocal Raiders crowd after their two-point win that all but ended the green machine's finals hopes.

Canberra's disappointing season after last year's heroics has been well documented and Holmes admits he's equally as surprised Ricky Stuart's side are languishing in 10th position – four points outside the top eight. 

"I always thought they'd be definitely in the top six on last year's form," he said.

"They've got a very strong team but it's weird they're down that far. I think they'll rely on winning those last few games."

Another known niggler in James Maloney will miss the fixture as he continues to recover from a broken hand.

Holmes slotted five from five goals in the NSW five-eighth's absence. 

"I gave it to him too about it but we all know Jimmy wants to do everything, he loves his kicking," he said.

"As long as we're getting them over, I just want to win."

Maloney's replacement in Nu Brown has been in good spirits throughout the week following a nasty head knock last week and Holmes is confident he will be right to play.

"He's passed his cold state test," Holmes said.

"That knock was pretty bad, we're all hoping he plays so we can keep those combinations."

The 22-year-old is confident the Sharks have cemented their spot in the finals for 2017, but how high they climb the ladder is up to them.

Cronulla face the Broncos, Cowboys, Roosters and Knights to finish the regular season after Saturday's clash.

"We're not in a position where we need to rely on teams to lose, we've just got to win as much as we can," Holmes said.

"It's tight in the top four where everyone wants to finish and between eighth, ninth and 10th spot there is two points difference and still a chance to get in or out for those sides."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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