Gallen calls for Holmes to be banned for life
CRONULLA captain Paul Gallen has broken ranks at Cronulla to give his former teammate Valentine Holmes both barrels over his decision to quit the Sharks and pursue an NFL career.
Holmes is free to pursue a career in the NFL after the Sharks officially released him from the final year of his contract.
Cronulla announced on Tuesday afternoon that Holmes would be permitted to leave the club after spending his entire NRL career in the Shire.
While some in the club voiced their suppoprt for Holmes, Gallen unloaded on the star fullback, saying he's let down his teammates, the club, and the fans, because he is still contracted for the 2019 season.
"It's been a dream of his which is great, I push guys to pursue their dreams without a doubt, but the fact is he had one year left on his contract and we don't get this far in this game or any game without your teammates and Val's left us, he's walked out on us, which I find disappointing," Gallen said.
"I've told him that, I've got nothing against him personally obviously I thanked him for everything he's done at our club, he's won a premierhsipo with us, he's been our best player but the way this has happened I'm disappointed in him."
Gallen and Holmes have been teammates for the past five seasons, and shared a special bond having been integral members of Cronulla's first ever premiership-winning side.
But that relationship looks to be severely strained now, with Gallen calling for Holmes to be banned from the NRL for life.
"The NRL have to step in here and do something about this, the guys that have the ability to go to the NFL are the marquee players, they're the bets players, they're the players our kids aspire to be, and he's just broken a contract not only does he have a Sharks contract he has an NRL contract," Gallen said.
"Now the NRL is always on about the integrity of the game, I don't see how this is good for the integrity of the game, breaking a contract with one year to go, just walking out on a club and the game.
"Look, I think it's got to be a minimum two years out of the game and if not out forever.
"If you're off-contract go for you life, you're not letting anyone down... He's let the playing group down, he's let the club down, and he's left us in a big hole."
Wade Graham said the playing group had received a text message from Holmes apologising that he was unable to tell them all in person before the news broke in the media.
Unlike Gallen though, Graham publicly wished his teammate the best, saying he had nothing but respect for the 23-year-old.
Chad Townsend also offered his support to Holmes, tweeting: "I wish him nothing but the best as he pursues a career in the NFL. You watch, I have no doubt he will make it!"
But judging by the reaction from Gallen, it's clear Holmes has created a storm in the Shire, and the club will have work to do to repairing the damage.