Even more upside?
In his first season at centre, Holmes dished up a 43.4 average, which was good enough for 3rd best average out of those still holding centre position behind Joseph Manu and Campbell Graham (Matt Burton also better). But did we see the ceiling, or just the floor?
Holmes played one game at centre in 2021, before making a full time move there in 2022 where he flourished, playing a key role in a winning Origin series and steering the Cowboys to a preliminary final where they ultimately fell short. In our preliminary skim over the projections, we listed Holmes as likely to repeat his pattern, but our recent article on Kotoni Staggs has given reason for further review.
Looking closer, we see an interesting split in terms of the first and second half of 2022…
|FIRST 12||BACK 12|
Here we see a few things happening, both the Cowboys clicking into gear, and Holmes finding his own rhythm in a new position.
Looking at the top 8 vs bottom 8 splits, playing against good sides doesn’t seem to worry Holmes, as he put up 45.8 against bottom 8 sides and 42.8 against top 8 sides. His last three matches, all against top 4 sides, yielded an average of 64 with only 8 points in goals. So how exactly do we go about projecting Holmes in 2023?
In short – HIGH.
The Cowboys open the season with a soft as butter draw, not facing a team in the top 7 sides from 2022 until round 8, not that it seems to matter for Holmes. The big point is there should be LOTS of points on offer, both through try scoring and goal kicking, for Holmes in the early rounds, allowing the Cowboys Juggernaut to sharpen their knives against a soft early schedule before moving into a tough Origin period.
Like many other Origin stars, the recommendation for both H2H and Overall players will be to sell Holmes in Round 13 (probably to fund Joseph Manu) for what should be a $100k profit, and then for H2H players you can (assuming you saved some trades) look to buy him back for rounds 20-23 before selling him again for the round 24 bye.
If Holmes was to hit a 50 average to open this year (1.6 less than his 2022 back half), his price should be around $730K by Origin time, a $110K profit in a tough centre position. Fanhub actually rounded his price DOWN by a whole point, icing on this delicious cake.