Broncos poised to unleash their ‘little GI’
He's still only 18 and will be making his NRL debut this Sunday but the Broncos reckon they have the newest rugby league star on their hands in Xavier Coates.
Coates has a long way to go to emulate Greg Inglis but the 18-year-old's build and the way he moves is eerily similar to the retired Queensland skipper who became an NRL superstar.
Inglis was 18 when he announced himself as a future NRL star for Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup in 2005, famously beating five Redcliffe defenders in a 90-metre solo classic at Dolphin Oval.
Fourteen years later, Coates produced similar magic at the same ground. In May this year, he destroyed Illawarra in the under-18s National Championships, beating six defenders in a 95-metre Inglis-esque charge to the tryline.
In his pomp, Inglis stood 198cm and weighed 106kg. Coates is 194cm and 100kg ... and still growing.
Like Inglis, Coates made his international debut as a teenager, turning out for Papua New Guinea against Samoa a fortnight ago. Now Brisbane's 'X-factor' makes his NRL debut on the wing against the Sharks.
"Xavier is another big lump of a kid. He is very promising," Broncos hooker Jake Turpin said.
"We saw him in the PNG game not so long ago and you have only got to look at him to see how athletic he is.
"He is pretty special. We call him 'Little GI' and he hates it, so we won't call him that ... but he does resemble a little GI I reckon."
In his only Intrust Super Cup game thus far five weeks ago, Coates scored two tries on debut for Tweed Heads. He also scored in his first pre-season senior trial for the Broncos in February, evidence Coates excels at any level.
"I can't wait for us to unleash the X ... he's our X-factor," Broncos back-rower Alex Glenn said.
"When he first came to training, one day a week, he caught us off guard at how young he was and how big a frame he was.
"When you see him, you will see the size I'm talking about. He has got speed, a fend and he has 'hop' (a big leap), some would say he is the whole package.
"I just want him to go out there and play his own game (against the Sharks) and hopefully he scores a couple of tries."
Broncos mentor Anthony Seibold coached Inglis at Souths last season and is tempering the hype around Coates.
"There are some similarities, but I'd hate to compare Xavier to Greg," he said.
"It's really early days. But the thing with Xavier, every level he goes up to, he has been comfortable with.
"He is a smart young guy, really humble, from a fantastic family and we are proud of how he has progressed.
"We are excited by what he can bring."