Cowboys coach Paul Green hasn't ruled out easing star signing Valentine Holmes back into the NRL via the wing rather than his preferred fullback position.
Holmes has impressed North Queensland staff with his return to pre-season training, and is back to his ideal playing weight of 90 kilograms after bulking up to 94 during his 12-month NFL sojourn with the New York Jets.
Green has kept the returning Origin and Test flyer on ice for the NRL Nines but plans to trial him against Brisbane on February 22 in Cairns.
Holmes' six-year Cowboys deal, worth over $5 million, is an emphatic pointer to his future being in the No.1 jumper.
But given the NRL's top fullback's average over eight kilometres of running a game and Holmes' NFL training focused on short-burst sprinting, a brief return to the wing could ease pressure on the club's biggest signing since Johnathan Thurston.
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"There is that option there so we'll see how he goes," Green said in Perth ahead of the NRL Nines.
"My biggest concern was how he handled the transition back into NRL [training] which was a bit different to NFL, how he'd been training.
"But he's handled that really well so we'll see how we go.
"Probably the [biggest hurdle for Holmes] is the climate. He's coming out of a winter in New York into a summer in North Queensland.
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"He's coming into the prime of his career so he's handled the training well."
Bringing Holmes back to the game via the wing, where he has racked up 17 tries in 13 Kangaroos Tests and eight tries in five Origins for Queensland, would put Scott Drinkwater and Ben Hampton into contention to play at fullback.
Green is yet to decide on whether Drinkwater or youngster Jake Clifford will start in the halves alongside captain Michael Morgan.
While Morgan remains in Townsville for the Nines, star lock Jason Taumalolo will captain the Cowboys for the first time.
"If you look at the team he's one of those guys that is coming into that emerging leadership group if you want to call on them," Green said.
"He did a great job with Tonga last off-season so he's certainly developing his leadership so this is again a good way to give him a little bit of responsibility.
"He's got those leadership qualities in him there's no doubt about that. It's about how you develop that and bring them out in him.
"Obviously he has a lot of pride in playing for Tonga ... he would've learnt a lot out of that for himself about leadership so for us it's about encouraging him to continue doing that and bring what he learnt back to us."