Holmes fears for Sharks' Origin spots
Valentine Holmes fears he and several high-profile Sharks teammates could find themselves snubbed from 2018 Origin honours if Cronulla can't turn around their slow start.
The Sharks are languishing in 13th on the Telstra Premiership ladder ahead of a Sunday afternoon showdown against front-runners Penrith, with Josh Dugan the latest to don the No.1 jersey and Holmes starting on the right wing.
The Kangaroos and Maroons flyer has copped plenty of criticism over his form since being shuffled out of the fullback role, and admits his own performances have not been "up to standard" during Cronulla's 2-4 start.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters has already guaranteed Greg Inglis will return for this year's Holden State of Origin series if the champion centre is fit, piling the pressure on backline incumbents such as Holmes and Darius Boyd.
The 22-year-old says Walters' backing of Inglis is a no-brainer, and admits Cronulla's struggles could cost not only him but also NSW hopefuls Wade Graham, Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan.
"There is a bit of concern there when we're not playing too well as a club," Holmes said at the launch of the new NRL-aligned touch football premiership.
"There's a lot of rep players in our team. Wade Graham, Matt Moylan, Josh Dugan, it's not just for myself, we've all got to pick up our act if we want to be playing rep footy.
"Someone of [Inglis'] calibre, you've got to have GI there.
"What he's done for his country and his state, you don't want to leave him out. It probably does create a headache for Kevvy, but at the same time that's an easy decision for him to make."
With 14 tries in 11 Tests for Australia and a stunning debut series for Queensland last year, Holmes is regarded as the best winger in the world by many good judges.
But his attacking statistics have fallen off a cliff in 2018. In six games, Holmes is averaging 10 runs and 91 metres a game. He has just seven tackle busts and two line breaks to his name.
Those figures are down from 16 runs and 166 metres a game in 2017, a year in which he also made 82 tackle busts and 10 line-breaks as Cronulla's first-choice fullback.
His involvement on the wing (16.3 touches a game) this season is on a par with the 2015-16 campaigns when he topped the club's tryscoring tallies, but Holmes admits the Sharks backline is growing frustrated with limited opportunities.
"Personally, my form's not up to standard to where I'd like it to be," Holmes told NRL.com.
"But it's not any single person's game, it's a team sport and it reflects a little bit on how we've all been going.
"Discipline has been our concern all month, we've given away too many penalties and when you give teams so much possession it's hard for the backs to get their hands on the ball.
"It does get frustrating, it's annoying. Not just for me but all the outside backs. Not that it's just the forwards getting penalised or anything, it just feels like we're always defending at the moment.
"I do want to be getting involved more that's specifically what I'm looking at this week."