Centre of attention as Hammer, Holmes reunite in Maroon

Murray Wenzel |

Valentine Holmes (pic) has been credited for the rise of Queensland star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.
Valentine Holmes (pic) has been credited for the rise of Queensland star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has credited mentor Valentine Holmes for providing the smarts to match his speed as the pair reunite in the centres for Queensland.

After a successful 2023 Maroons union, they’ll resume their partnership in Wednesday’s Sydney State of Origin opener.

It will be Holmes’ seventh consecutive Origin game in that position, coming after seven as a winger and three at fullback since a 2017 debut.

The 28-year-old currently plays in the centres for North Queensland, where Tabuai-Fidow burst onto the scene as an outside back before moving to the Dolphins last year.

“He’d look much better in Cowboys kit, but he’s doing well,” Holmes said of the 22-year-old.

“I’ve always watched him; had him under my wing for a bit at the Cowboys when he was the next big thing at 17.

“He’s 10 times faster than me. I used to think I was fast.

“As soon as he gets the ball he’s just gone, nobody can catch him. He backs himself, chips and chases, carries in different hands, can pass.

“He’s got it all. And he can defend too.” 

Like Holmes, Tabuai-Fidow has been shuffled between wing, fullback, and centre at club level.

Despite now settling in the No.1 in Redcliffe, he’s only ever played centre in four games for Queensland where he has instantly clicked with and without the ball.

Holmes tries not to take any credit but his understudy said it had been instrumental.

“Val has been a big help to me,” Tabuai-Fidow said. 

“I have picked stuff out of his brain and try and implement it.

“Defensively … staying square and getting up ahead of the play. 

“That is important as a centre, to get up and read the play well. 

“The way he defends he is good at his inside shoulder and saving it so I try to do that at training.”

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
Queensland star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow scored in every Origin match he has played. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Tabuai-Fidow has scored in every Origin game he’s played, including notching a match-winning double in last year’s series opener.

His only loss came in last season’s game three dead rubber.

“I’m not actually too surprised because he’s just such a natural and can play anywhere,” Holmes said of the Dolphins star’s transition.

“And in a team like this, no matter who comes in, they get their job done. 

“Keep it simple; do your job and people around you will do theirs – and make you look good as well. 

“And he does that; he takes his tough carries and then when he gets the ball in open space he knows what to do.”

VALENTINE HOLMES CAREER BY POSITION

All games: Fullback (71), wing (89), centre (65), bench (2)

In Origin: Fullback (3), wing (7), centre (6)

HAMISO TABUAI-FIDOW CAREER BY POSITION

All games: Fullback (42), wing (14), centre (23), bench (11)

In Origin: Centre (4)

AAP