North Queensland coaching staff are adamant superstar Valentine Holmes will pick up where he left off when he makes a highly-anticipated return to the NRL next month.
Holmes, 24, made a stellar return to rugby league on Saturday after taking the 2019 season off for an ultimately unsuccessful crack at the NFL.
The fullback played the first 30 minutes of a trial against Brisbane and defused several towering kicks in torrential conditions while also shaping up in defence.
Holmes starred for Cronulla, Queensland and Australia before heading stateside after the 2018 NRL season when he scored 22 tries in 26 games for the Sharks.
Cowboys assistant coach Josh Hannay was impressed with Holmes' half-hour shift and backed him to hit the ground running in their season-opener against Brisbane on March 13.
"He had some really good touches, he took some difficult balls in conditions that were pretty tough for the back three and brought the ball back with some real intent," Hannah told AAP.
"Based on what we've seen from Val over the course of the preseason there doesn't look to be any rust whatsoever and he looks like he's never been away from the game.
"Certainly tonight in the 30 minutes that he played he looked the same player that he was prior to leaving the game.
"He looked really sharp."
Hannay emphasised Holmes' contribution to the club was on and off the field.
"He's the ultimate professional and you often find that with those guys that are at the top of their game," Hannay said.
"It's not just about talent, they look after their bodies better than anyone else, they work harder on their game than anyone else.
"That's what he's brought to the club - an elite level of professionalism.
"That certainly rubs off on all the other guys when they see someone like Val come in with his attention to detail and his preparation."
Australian Associated Press