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Cronulla Shark’s Valentine Holmes looking to switch codes to NFL

Staff writers, November 20, 2018 8:04AM News Corp Australia Network

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Valentine Holmes of Australia scores a try during the Rugby League Test match against Tonga. He is now eyeing a career in the NFL. Picture: AAP media_cameraValentine Holmes of Australia scores a try during the Rugby League Test match against Tonga. He is now eyeing a career in the NFL. Picture: AAP

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NFL: Valentine Holmes needs to put on up to 10kg and increase his speed if he is to succeed in the NFL, according to Australia’s first player drafted* in the sport Colin Scotts.

Holmes has told the Cronulla Sharks he wants to pursue* a career in the NFL and he recently checked out a major NFL club during a visit to Nike’s head office in the United States.

Holmes has long wanted to play in the NFL, and both he and Jason Taumalolo trialled in front of several agents at the end of 2016 to see if they were ready.

At that time, Holmes’ 40-yard dash time was 4.6sec, while he weighed in at 90kg last year according to the Sharks.

That sprint time recorded is below the NFL’s average for his likely positions, which could present a big hurdle in terms of speed to fit in as a wide receiver or explosiveness as a running back.

His weight is close to the usual for an NFL wide receiver, but about 7kg below the reported average running back size in 2016.

Another option could be for him to be used mainly in special teams as a punt returner.

“He’ll have to put on 5 to 10kg and increase speed,” Scotts told Triple M’s Rush Hour. “But there’s no one better at doing it than if he gets over there now and starts working with the best trainers in the world. There would be teams deadset* interested.”

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja is recovering quickly after surgery on his injured knee. Picture: AAP media_cameraAustralian batsman Usman Khawaja is recovering quickly after surgery on his injured knee. Picture: AAP

CRICKET: In a rare* piece of good news for Australian cricket, Usman Khawaja is almost certain to play in next month’s first Test against India in Adelaide.

The 31-year-old batsman’s recovery from a knee injury has progressed to the point where he’ll face bowling later this week in the nets.

Khawaja hasn’t played since having surgery on a torn meniscus* suffered during Australia’s Test series against Pakistan in October in the UAE.

Cameron Smith of the Storm in action during the 2018 NRL Grand Final. Picture: Getty Images media_cameraCameron Smith of the Storm in action during the 2018 NRL Grand Final. Picture: Getty Images

NRL: Melbourne Storm forward Christian Welch says Cameron Smith will be “ready for Round 1” despite the games’ record holder having yet to sign a contract for next season.

Free agent Smith is expected to report for pre-season towards the end of January.

Despite the captain’s contract still being up in the air*, Welch, said Smith will “come back”.

“We don’t see too much of Cameron this time of year … it’s all about getting his body and mental side of things ready for another season,” Welch said.

“Obviously the longevity* in the game, it wears people down and the amount of rep footy he’s played over the years, so he’ll come back and he’ll be ready for Round 1.

“Certainly from a playing group we really hope he comes back for next year.”

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GLOSSARY

drafted: select a player for a team through a draft picking system

pursue: chase

deadset: serious

rare: doesn’t happen often

meniscus: a thin fibrous cartilage

up in the air: undecided

longevity: long time

QUICK QUIZ

1. How much did Valentine Holmes weigh last year?

2. Name the Australian batsman recovering from a knee injury.

3. When is Cameron Smith expected to return to Storm training?

VCOP ACTIVITY

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many wow words or ambitious pieces of vocabulary that you can find in yellow. Discuss the meanings of these words and see if you can use them orally in another sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Would you like to see Valentine Holmes make it in the NFL?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.

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