Fantasy could become reality for Holmes, Graham
Earlier this year Valentine Holmes sat down and selected his NFL fantasy team with some of his Cronulla teammates, including co-captain Wade Graham.
Graham said he now faces the real prospect of drafting Holmes into his fantasy league next year.
"Come next year we might be drafting him into our team," Graham said. "That would be funny. He's in the top four at the moment. We will all sit back and watch it and have an interest.
"It's a great sport to watch. Now Val is trying his hand at it, we wish him the best."
Just hours earlier Graham had been speaking at the Magic Round launch in Brisbane about his hopes Holmes would fulfil his contract at Cronulla for next season before exploring any move away from the club.
At that stage Graham was yet to hear from Holmes. Things move fast in rugby league. And just an hour later the text message from his now former teammate came through with the news of Holmes' immediate departure.
Graham again fronted up to tell of his "bittersweet" feelings.
"Val has been at our club for a long time, he's such a key to our success, but obviously it's very exciting for him and the opportunity to go and have a crack in the biggest sporting code in the US," Graham said.
"He's a super-talented athlete, physically he has all the attributes to be successful in any sporting arena he chooses to play in and the challenge in front of him now is a huge one so it's exciting he has an opportunity to take it on.
"He's coming into what would have been his biggest deal when coming off contract with us. "There's interest from North Queensland and Val's the type of player who would have 15 other clubs interested in his services.
"He's obviously confident in his ability and if Val backs himself, I'm happy to support him. "You can't help but respect someone who gets out of their comfort zone, turn their back on a really lucrative deal and take a chance on such a big challenge. I've got nothing but respect for him."
While Graham may be cheering Holmes on, the hole his departure leaves in Cronulla's roster is significant. The Sharks have representative fullbacks Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan already on their books which could pave the way for Kyle Flanagan to cement himself as an NRL half.
"He's coming off a season where he was our best player by a long way, he's been an integral part of our success the last few years," Graham said. "He leaves a big hole to fill.
"We were looking at maybe having to fill the void at the end of next season if he did move on.
"Now it's happened a lot quicker. Off the top of my head we have Josh Dugan in the squad, Matt Moylan in the squad. Val is a big loss. The beauty of rugby league is the next exciting prospect is just around the corner.
"There might be the next Valentine Holmes in our system already."
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