Holmes gives Cotter Origin nod of approval

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Valentine Holmes has given young teammate Reuben Cotter the seal of approval to represent their state in the Origin cauldron after a stellar, despite delayed, start to the season.

One of several unheralded stars at North Queensland that sees them currently sit third on the NRL ladder, Cotter has been crucial in the engine room since his round three start for a side that boasts the second-best defensive record in the competition.

His full repertoire was on display in their 35-4 shellacking of Parramatta in round eight, not missing a single tackle in 80 minutes at lock, as well as leading his side in tackles made with 49.

Cotter enjoyed arguably his best 80 minutes as a Cowboy after dealing with numerous long-term injuries in his young career, with even coach Todd Payten aware of his suitability to Queensland's Origin side.

"Well if they're looking for a 14 to play off the bench, absolutely," Payten said of the 23-year-old.

With Gold Coast's David Fifita in doubt after suffering a grade two MCL sprain, Cotter could form as the surprise old-school injection for the Maroons ahead of their June 8 opener.

Holmes said his teammate's attitude and tenacity is what representing the state is all about.

"That's definitely what Queensland prides itself on and that's tough, tenacious and not missing tackles," Holmes said.

"He's a true Queenslander, he's born and bred up these ways.

"If he did pull a jersey on and get that chance I'm sure he would definitely take it with two hands and do his family and Queensland proud."

Payten has been instrumental in Cotter's rise to form, switching him from ruck-scoping hooker to a middle forward that doesn't shy away from contact.

Holmes has also enjoyed a positional switch in 2022, now playing in the centres after previous stints at fullback and wing.

"Really enjoying it, loving it" Holmes said of the move.

"I get to make a few more tackles and I'm pulling up a bit sore after each game, but yeah really enjoying it.

"Looks like it's working best for the team as well and so far we're going pretty well out there defensively. It's what I'm also pleased about."

The Cowboys have named an unchanged 17 for their clash against Newcastle on Saturday.

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