Lessons learned from State of Origin great Billy Slater have stoked Valentine Holmes’ hopes of one day taking over from his idol as Queensland fullback.
But Holmes doesn’t think that will be any time soon despite Slater going down with an ankle injury at Maroons training ahead of Wednesday night’s series decider in Brisbane.
Queensland officials confirmed Slater rolled his ankle during an opposed session at their Gold Coast camp on Sunday and would be monitored in the lead-up to game three — potentially the veteran fullback’s final Origin.
Off contract Slater, 34, is yet to decide whether he will play on in 2018 ahead of his 29th Origin.
As a result, Cronulla No.1 Holmes said he had soaked up as much information as he could from Slater at Queensland training.
“I’ve learned a lot from him this camp. He’s my biggest idol. As a kid I always used to watch him and (North Queensland’s) Matty Bowen play,” he said.
“He was one of my favourite players growing up so to be able to play alongside him is great. Even playing against him is awesome.”
However, Holmes believed Melbourne’s Cameron Munster — the debutant originally named at five-eighth — would be on standby at fullback for Slater.
Munster spent the best part of two years filling in for Slater as Melbourne No.1 while the veteran battled two shoulder reconstructions.
“It would be anyone’s dream to play (Queensland) No.1 if you’re a fullback playing for your club so it’s definitely something that I’d love to play in,” Holmes said.
“(But) I don’t think they’d be calling upon me. (It would be) Cameron Munster at fullback and me and Gagai on the wings.
“If they asked me I wouldn’t turn it down but I am just being realistic here.”
Still Holmes believed he would leave the Queensland camp a better fullback thanks to Slater.
“He’s very vocal out on the field and he’s like that off it,” Holmes said.
“When we are doing video he’ll always pull me aside and let me know what I’m doing right and what I need to work on which is what I want to hear.
“I’m fullback at clubland so that’s something that I’ve got to take back with me.”