Cowboys coach makes call on Holmes future

New Cowboys coach Todd Payten has confirmed Valentine Holmes will remain as the club's first-choice fullback option.

Payten, who back in September signed a three-year deal to become the club's 10th coach in its history, will have his work cut out for him when he looks to improve the squad, which finished 14th on the ladder with just five wins this season.

A burning question among fans and pundits has been whether Holmes will remain at fullback after the former New York Jets practice squad member signed a monster six-year contract, worth about $750,000 per-season last off-season.

Holmes, who started the 2020 campaign at fullback, was shifted to the wing at times in a year hampered by an ankle injury.

But for now, Payten has made it clear Holmes will be the club's number one option to play fullback with pre-season training duties already underway.

Valentine Holmes of the Cowboys is tackled during the round three NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans

"Val will be spending the pre-season at fullback. It was a big ask for him last year to come back from the NFL, the physical demands with limited preparation," Payten told NRL.com.

"He carries the ball [well] as a fullback. There are some awareness parts of his game which could improve.

"At the moment he's going to spend the pre-season at fullback along with one or two others."

Another option for the club could be young gun Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who this year put his hand up for the No.1 jersey when Holmes was out. The speedster was scary in open space and could become a solution for Payten following a breakout year that saw him bag six tries from 14 appearances.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

Queensland rugby league legend Sam Thaiday earlier this year claimed the Cowboys would be better to keep Holmes on the wing, with Tabuai-Fidow to take on the fullback role.

"I'd love to see him [Tabuai-Fidow] play fullback," Thaiday told Wide World of Sports' QLDER.

"I think Val's a fantastic winger as well, so there's an opportunity for him to play on the wing. He can score tries, and you want your winger to be finishers and that's what Val is.

"He can do plenty of work coming out of trouble. I'd love to see Hammer at No.1."

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