Will Sharks cap saga help Cowboys snare Holmes?
HE'S got the x-factor the club needs.
And Cowboys players say they would welcome Valentine Holmes with open arms if he eventually decides to head home as the Sharks contend with an investigation into their salary cap.
The Sharks confirmed on Tuesday night they'd self-reported issues that date back to 2015, which were first spotted by new chief executive Barry Russell earlier this year.
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has publicly stated the club has no intention of releasing Townsville product Holmes early from his contract, with the 23-year-old free to look elsewhere in 2020.
Holmes has been offered a massive five year deal to remain in the Sutherland Shire, but the try-scoring machine is the x-factor player the Cowboys need.
The Cowboys will wrap up a disappointing season on the Gold Coast on Saturday. Fullback looms as their major issue going forward following Kalyn Ponga's move to Newcastle, and Lachlan Coote's expected departure.
Holmes became the first Sharks player to score 20 tries in a season against Newcastle on Sunday, and has established himself as an automatic Queensland Origin selection.
"There's lot of speculation about lots of players at this time of year," Cowboys forward Gavin Cooper said.
"To have someone of his calibre at the club, if it was at all possible they'd look at it.
"I've played with him in Origin and know what he's capable of. If he was able to line up (here) next year or years to come, it would be great for the club and the community to bring another local kid home."
Cowboys centre Justin O'Neill has also played alongside Holmes at Origin level.
"He's one of those players who is dangerous in attack and can offer so much," O'Neill said. "His running game is hard to handle and brings the footy back hard. For him to play a role at fullback or wing, there'd definitely be a lot of attacking spark from Val."
Cowboys back rower Coen Hess played alongside Holmes at schoolboy level for Ignatius Park College, before they joined forces for the Maroons.
"We played a state final against Keebra Park in 2012 and I bombed three tries," Hess said.
"It'd be massive. Everyone wants players like Val in their team, he can create something out of nothing."