Holmes to kick on after mixed NRL start

Murray Wenzel
North Queensland coach Paul Green is expecting improvements from key recruit valentine Holmes

At least Valentine Holmes won't have to contend with the hecklers when he resumes kicking duties for North Queensland on Thursday in Sydney against Canterbury.

It's one of the certainties coach Paul Green is trying to focus on as the NRL club prepares for the unknown of playing in empty stadiums as a result of the coronavirus.

Green confirmed fullback Holmes, a 72 per cent career kicker, would retain the duties after missing both wide attempts in Friday's 28-21 loss to Brisbane.

It was the former Cronulla star's first game since returning from a year-long stint chasing an NFL career in the United States.

He mixed two knock-ons - one from a Broncos bomb - with a try and overall gain of 157 metres in a middling performance that Green was almost expecting.

"I said from the start if you expect him to be the best player in his first game back ... it's unrealistic, to have that expectation is unfair," the coach said.

"As long as he does his job that's all we expect. Once he gets used to the NRL again and gets up to that level, we know what he's capable of."

But in the same breath he said Holmes did need to improve as the side focused on what they could control.

"To be fair he probably didn't do his job; part of a fullback's job is to catch kicks and everyone's job is to control the ball," Green said.

"So he's probably down in that area, but he's a pretty good player, I'd be careful being too critical of him."

Green wasn't happy generally with how the side performed in what was their first game at their Queensland Country Bank Stadium home last weekend.

Much has changed since the decision was made by the NRL to allow crowds to last Friday's game, with the clash expected to go ahead behind closed doors at ANZ Stadium.

Green joked that may have its benefits, but also that it should provide his side with a dose of perspective and even produce a more urgency.

"A lot of it (goal-kicking) is about the mental side when you're kicking and he certainly won't have the crowd booing this weekend," Green said.

"But we were pretty disappointed with our performance given the occasion last week.

"The whole world has changed (since then) ... hopefully it does give everyone a bit of a reset."

"This does put things in perspective for everyone and hopefully it does teach us a bit of gratitude about what we do have and life can change pretty quickly."