Allora prop Greg Holmes controls the ball at the first Reds training session of the year.
Allora prop Greg Holmes controls the ball at the first Reds training session of the year. Contributed

Qld Reds back on track

ALLORA prop Greg Holmes was happy with his fitness level at the first day of 2012 Queensland Reds pre-season training on Monday after spending Christmas with his family.

Holmes and his Reds team-mates returned to training on Monday after a well deserved two weeks off over the Christmas-new year period. It was a break Holmes enjoyed, kicking back and relaxing with his family.

"Yeah it was good to get home, catch up with the family, relax and have a break from it all," Holmes said.

The Reds coaching staff was on the hunt for those players who might have over-indulged during the Christmas period as the 2011 Super Rugby champions were welcomed back to Ballymore with several rounds of fitness testing.

Holmes was up to it however and was looking forward to the start of the serious stuff.

"We had fitness testing on Monday and I got through it okay and the rest of the boys were looking good. Today we're back into the serious training, practising our scrum and lineout moves."

Holmes was looking forward to the opening trial game on February 11 against the ACT Brumbies in Cairns and was confident that the Reds would be ready for the challenge.

"We will be building on what we've done in our earlier pre-season training to hopefully add to our play book in time for the start of the season."

The play book that won't include the brilliance and skill of Quade Cooper. The mercurial fly-half was the key playmaker for the Reds last season and is not expected to return until round 6 at the earliest due to injury. Holmes was excited however, at the prospect of a race for the vacant fly-half spot.

"There is good competition for spots and with Quade out, there are at least three guys who could take his spot. We've got Mike Harris, Jono Lance and Ben Lucas ready to step up and it will be exciting to see who gets it.

Holmes is confident that if he can cement his spot in the front row for the Reds this year, he can push on and challenge for a Wallabies spot.

"That's the goal every year. The focus is on the Reds at the moment but it's always in the back of my mind and hopefully if I do well in Super Rugby I will get my chance to pull on that gold jersey again."

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