In February last year, Queensland had brought its next wave of talent into camp. Valentine Holmes featured in this circle of sure-to-be Maroons, which included Cameron Munster, Anthony Milford, Dylan Napa, Jarrod Wallace and Ben Hunt.

This Origin junior varsity had been a key program to Queensland’s set-up since Wayne Bennett brought it in as Maroons’ coach in the early 2000s. The 2016 class did not go into distinction, as the extra-long night out landed eight players with 12-month bans from Origin.

Holmes was one of them, and he also faced an investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit for an incident with a taxi driver. Widely seen as a chance to make his Origin debut, he found himself sidelined.

Having made his debut in Origin II, and looking ahead to making his first appearance in front of a home crowd on Wednesday, Holmes can say he made it through the experience.

“I learned a lot from it,” Holmes says in an upcoming edition of Inside Sport. “Personally, I felt not ready for Origin that young. I’d only played 25 games then.

Over the rest of the 2016 season, Holmes won a premiership with Cronulla and earned a Test cap. He flirted with an NFL trial, and landed a big, new contract to remain at the Sharks. With his 22nd birthday still to come in two weeks, an Origin series win – with several of his team-mates from the Emerging Maroons on the team – represents a last level to conquer.

“It (the ban) has played a part in being motivated to do well. They played well last year. It was a good team. I was only young, I’m glad happened it then, so I learned from it.”