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Hodges prefers Holmes on Maroons wing

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Fullback may be where Valentine Holmes wants to play after his NRL return but Queensland great Justin Hodges contends the Maroons should keep him on the wing in State of Origin.

Holmes has made no secret of his desire to wear North Queensland's No.1 jersey after his return from the NFL to sign a lucrative six-year Cowboys deal.

While Hodges said Holmes would create healthy competition for incumbent Maroons fullback Kalyn Ponga in 2020, he believed the North Queensland recruit would be more potent on the wing.

Statistics back Hodges' view.

Holmes has played five Origin games on the wing, scoring a staggering eight tries.

"We missed that (this year), his experience on the wing," Hodges said of Holmes, who skipped the 2019 NRL season to pursue his NFL dream with New York Jets.

"He puts a lot of other guys under pressure as well to perform.

"Corey Oates has been good there (on wing), so having Val come back will put a bit more pressure on him.

"But with Will Chambers unavailable we can move Dane Gagai into the centres, it may it free up a (wing) spot for Val, we will have to see."

Either way, Hodges said the return of Holmes would keep every Maroons backline contender on their toes.

"It's going to be hard (picking the Queensland backline) but that's what you want," he said.

"You want guys to put pressure on each other. Having those headaches is a good thing.

"But those guys need to hit the ground running early in the season and put their hand up, and make sure the selectors find a spot for them because we are going to need our best 17 against NSW at the moment."

Hodges joked that the only man happier than North Queensland coach Paul Green after Holmes made an NRL return was Maroons mentor Kevin Walters.

Hodges said Holmes was just the attacking weapon Walters needed as he plotted to end NSW's two-straight Origin series victories.

"I think Kevvie will be happy. He has been out of the game for a little bit but I am super excited to have him back," Hodges said.

"The last couple of years he has shown how good he is."

© AAP 2019