Cowboys fullback Valentine Holmes will need to play through pain when he returns from the shoulder injury that forced him from the field before halftime in Queensland’s Origin triumph.
North Queensland coach Todd Payten confirmed Holmes would be sidelined for about a month but was relieved that scans in Townsville on Thursday had determined the representative star didn’t require season-ending surgery.
However, Holmes will be sorely missed by the Cowboys, with Jayden Bowen or Daejarn Asi set to come into the team for Saturday’s home clash with Sydney Roosters. Payten said his fullback's return would depend on how much pain he could cope with.
"It is going to be tough for Val, there is no doubt he is going to have to play hurt," Payten said. "It is a tough thing to do in our game and it is going to be a good learning curve for him moving forward as a professional.
"When Val has played well, we have won our games so he is a big and important player for us. If he needed surgery it would have been six months, so it is a real positive from our end.
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"It is a pain management thing and on a personal note I know how disappointed Val is. He wants to do his bit for the team and he is unable to.
"His mindset at the moment is just getting himself as fit as he can as quick as he can, and he is going to dive into his rehab."
While the loss of Holmes cast a cloud over Queensland’s win, the performance of Cowboys team-mate Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in his Origin debut confirmed Payten’s belief in the 19-year-old speedster.
Tabuai-Fidow returned to training with Queensland interchange forward Francis Molo and Payten said he was buzzing after the win.
"I've seen over the years players come back from a good Origin series and it has a real positive effect on the way they approach their footy," Payten said.
"It obviously allows them to grow a bit in confidence and with Hamiso, I just don’t know if he knows how good he could be. Wednesday night is just a reminder to him and the rest of us that he has got something that can take us forward.
"I have got a high opinion of the kid on the field and off it, and I am sure his personality allows him to play well in big games so I am not surprised by the way he played and that he wasn't overawed as a 19-year-old at all."
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Meanwhile, Payten said he was reluctant for any of the Cowboys players, including Tongan superstar Jason Taumalolo, to travel to England at the end of the season for the World Cup and called for the tournament to be postponed.
"I am just speaking from our club’s perspective," Payten said. "I just think that there is a lot of uncertainty around it at the moment and I don't want to discourage our players from going but their safety and our preparation for next season needs to be taken into account.
"The smart play is to postpone it for 12 months, but we will see what happens."