Whiz kids could squeeze stars out of Broncos backline

Queensland Origin ace Corey Oates says Broncos rookies Xavier Coates and Herbie Farnworth will be NRL stars, admitting the pair are so talented they could squeeze him out of a wing spot at the Broncos.

Coates, likened in style to retired Maroons legend Greg Inglis, and Farnworth, a former Manchester United prodigy, are the latest whiz kids to make their debuts in Brisbane's away clash against Cronulla this Sunday.

Coates' rise is so meteoric that, exactly one year ago, the teenage sensation was playing for Gold Coast's Marymount College in a Confraternity Carnival game on a backfield at Charters Towers in Townsville.

In February, Coates, 18, and Farnworth, 19, played their first senior game at Warwick, the former scoring a try and the latter kicking five goals to contribute 14 points in Brisbane's 42-0 drubbing of Souths Logan.

Now the young guns face the biggest shootout of their embryonic careers at a hostile PointsBet Stadium where Cronulla halves Chad Townsend and Shaun Johnson are sure to pepper the wingers with bombs.

Oates has been Brisbane's premier winger for the past five seasons, but the off-contract 24-year-old is only half-joking when he suggests Coates and Farnworth could turn up the heat on established stars.

"They are so talented I could be out of a job one day," Oates said.

"They are massive talents.

"Herbie is so fast and Xavier has great hands and a really good jump on him.

"Xavier is a monster for a young kid. At training one day we compared hand sizes and he has me covered easily.

"When he puts on a few kilos … holy hell, he is going to be a star in the NRL."


Herbie Farnworth will make his NRL debut for the Broncos. Picture: Peter Wallis
Herbie Farnworth will make his NRL debut for the Broncos. Picture: Peter Wallis


The way Coates moves at 194cm and 100kg is eerily similar to Inglis.

In May, the towering centre or winger carved up Illawarra in Tweed Heads' 48-14 victory in the under-18s National Championship.

Coates scored two tries, including one solo moment of magic where he took the ball on his tryline and beat six Steelers defenders in a scorching 95-metre dash to the tryline, sealing his selection for the Queensland under-18s.

The Broncos moved to stave off a poaching threat for Coates on Tuesday, upgrading his deal until the end of 2021.


Corey Oates has a high opinion of Brisbane’s rookies. Picture: AAP
Corey Oates has a high opinion of Brisbane’s rookies. Picture: AAP


At 190cm and 97kg, Farnworth is a tall, quick, goalkicking Englishman who has scored 12 tries in 11 games for Norths Devils this season in the Intrust Super Cup.

For all his natural gifts, Farnworth's work ethic is supreme.

On days off at Red Hill, when senior Broncos are relaxing at home, Farnworth places poles in the turf and practises side-stepping and goalkicking.

"They're always doing the extras at training, especially Herbie," Broncos back-rower Matt Gillett said.

"I'm pretty excited to see them play, Herbie and Xavier are big, tall boys and carry the ball well.

"To put a Broncos jersey on is pretty special.

"They're probably excited, full of enthusiasm and ready to rip in."