Gallen unloads on departing Holmes
Paul Gallen hasn't held back after talking about Valentine Holmes' shock decision to walk away from the club in pursuit of chasing his NFL dream.
The Cronulla Sharks skipper teed off on Holmes in an explosive interview where he said the star fullback is "letting the club down".
Holmes' decision to walk away from the Sharks, despite having a year remaining on his contract, sent shockwaves around the league when his decision was announced on Monday.
The club announced on Tuesday he had been granted an immediate release from the final year of his contract, with teammates and officials reportedly furious.
But Gallen took matters into his own hands and rather than hide behind reports, he stood front and centre and delivered his brutal takedown on camera.
"Its been a dream of his which is great, I push guys to pursue their dreams without a doubt," Gallen said on Channel 9.
"But the fact is he had one year left on his contract and we don't get this far in the game or in any game without your teammates and Val's left us, he's walked out on us which I find disappointing.
"I've told him that, I've got nothing against him personally obviously I thanked him for everything he has done for our club.
"He's won a premiership with us, he's been our best player. But the way this has happened, I'm disappointed."
Holmes will be able to return to the NRL in 2020 if his dream of landing a role in the NFL falls flat, but Gallen believes he shouldn't return ... ever.
"The NRL have to step in here and do something about this," Gallen said.
"The guys that have the ability to go to the NFL are the marquee players, they're the best players that our kids aspire to be like and he's just broken his contract.
"Not only does he have a Sharks contract, he has an NRL contract. Now the NRL are always on about the integrity of the game, I don't see how this is good for the integrity of the game.
"A bloke breaking a contract with one year to go and just walking out on a club and the game. I think it's got to be a minimum two-years out of the game, if not out forever."
The thoughts of Gallen are in stark contrast to Sharks chief executive Barry Russell who said the club hopes he will return to play for them one day.
"We are incredibly saddened to see him leave our club and exit the game of rugby league, however we wish him all the best in pursuing his NFL career and hope one day he may again wear the Sharks colours," Russell said.
The outburst from Gallen isn't anything he reportedly hasn't shared with Holmes, but his disappointment with the move and the effect it'll have on the Sharks is what hurts him the most.
"I'm not saying anything that I haven't said to Val, I wish him well as a person … I like Val he's a great kid.
"If anyone can make it in the NFL it'll be him, but just the way its happened.
"If you're off contract then go for your life, go do what you want you're not letting anyone down then, but the fact is he's got one-year to run on his contract and he's letting the playing group down, he's let the club down and he's left us in a big hole."
Holmes arrived back in Australia this week after holidaying in the United States and Cuba, where he conducted a series of training workouts at the Nike headquarters.
He reportedly met up with one NFL team during the trip, prompting his dramatic decision to chase a goal of getting signed by an NFL team for the 2019-2020 season.
Channel 9 reporter Danny Weidler reported on Tuesday morning said Cronulla players and officials feel "dirty" that Holmes appears to have kept them in the dark of his true intentions.
"They were desperate to keep him, but they were happy for him to go back if it was for that reason," Weidler told Triple M's Grill team about Homes' partner's desire to return home.
"I can tell you that they are not happy now. If he is going to abandon the Sharks for the NFL, the good will that he had at Cronulla is totally gone. It's evaporated.
"The players are dirty. The officials are dirty and the coach is not happy. Given the way it's been happening, they fell it's been very, very poorly managed.
"They're questioning the advice he's been getting and they're angry about it.
"You can't blame him for wanting to chase it. The anger the Sharks have is with the way it's been done."