Conulla’s top fullback candidate Valentine Holmes has been ruled out of Thursday’s NRL season opener against Brisbane due to injury.
Premiership winger Holmes, tipped to fill the fullback spot vacated by Ben Barba, has been hampered in the pre-season by a hamstring complaint.
“Val, just with the speed he plays at, we know how fast the bloke is, tearing a hamstring three or four weeks ago probably is just not worth the risk for him.
“Fingers crossed he’ll be right for next week but he won’t play this week.”
The 21-year-old Holmes missed Cronulla’s World Club Challenge loss to Wigan after suffering the injury in a trial match against Redcliffe earlier in the month.
The Kangaroos winger’s switch to fullback was a convenient solution to Barba’s departure to French rugby following a positive drugs test.