Broncos overlook Coates again


PAPUA New Guinea-born Bronco Xavier Coates has been overlooked for a third-straight week as Brisbane prepare to host Newcastle in round 21 of the National Rugby League tonight (7.50pm kick-off).
But Broncos coach Kevin Walters insisted that the 194cm, 108kg winger would run out again for Brisbane before he joined reigning premiers Melbourne Storm on a two-year deal from 2022.
“There’s no story with Xavier, we’re very happy with the form of Jamayne Isaako on the right wing and Corey Oates on the left wing,” Walters told Broncos TV yesterday.
“I keep saying we know he’s a good player, he’s an even better person, so we would like to think that Xavier can get a couple of games at Broncos before he departs at the end of the year.
“He’s been a lot better this week around the group, Xavier, I think he’s got his head around the position that he’s in and he’s working with all of us to try and get a win tomorrow night.
“He understands the situation that we’re in at the moment with those two guys playing some really good footy and a winning footy team.”
Centre Kotoni Staggs’ season-ending knee injury had opened up a backline spot but club legend Walters instead chose Jesse Arthars over the 20-year-old Gulf native.
The repeated snubbing of Coates had prompted speculation around an early Broncos release, but those claim were quickly shot down by the Storm when contacted by The National on Tuesday. “No, the speculations are incorrect,” Storm general manager Frank Ponissi said.
“Coates will be remaining at the Broncos for the remainder of this season.
“He will join us after the 2021 season.”