North Queensland Cowboys could be poised to nail a major signing coup by luring Valentine Holmes back from the NFL, according to media reports.
The former Cronulla Sharks star suffered a setback in his bid to cut it in American football after failing to land a berth in the New York Jets' roster for the current season.
But he is now ready to head home and sign a lucrative deal with the Cowboys, worth around $1 million a season, with "only an eleventh-hour change of heart" likely to block his return to Australia, according to News Corp Australia.
The deal could put the block on the Cowboys signing Sydney Roosters' star Latrell Mitchell, who has been heavily linked with a move north to Townsville in recent days.
Speculation intensified after Kangaroos centre Mitchell was photographed meeting North Queensland officials on Monday night.
The 22-year-old has also been touted for a move to the Wests Tigers, having met with coach Michael Maguire in his hometown Taree last week.
But salary cap constraints, due to other big contracts for Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo, could mean Mitchell is overlooked if the Cowboys do manage to land Holmes.
Australian Associated Press