Xavier Coates loses the ball to Chad Townsend. Image: AAP Image/Craig Golding
Xavier Coates loses the ball to Chad Townsend. Image: AAP Image/Craig Golding

No GI — but Coates’ potential limitless

Xavier Coates has a long way to go to live up to the "Little Greg Inglis" tag but the Broncos teenager winder announced his NRL arrival with an eye-catching performance against Cronulla.

Remember, the 18-year-old winger had largely flown under the radar until making Papua New Guinea's Test squad off the back of his match-winning exploits for Queensland's under 18 side.

A solid international debut had tongues wagging last month even before Brisbane teammate Alex Glenn branded Coates "Little GI" but Anthony Seibold couldn't have possibly imagined how valuable his teenage tyro would be until the eighth minute at Shark Park.

Was it a bird, was it a plane? No, just Coates leaping over the top of Bronson Xerri and Josh Morris for a spectacular try on debut.

Did he beat his man? Did he cope under the high ball? Did he make his tackles?

Two tackle busts, four bombs defused, seven tackles made. Yes, yes, yes.

But if you peel away the thrill of a baby Broncos win and Coates' incredible first-half try, you've still got a kid who needs time to develop.

 

Coates stood out in a stirring performance for Brisbane. Image: AAP Image/Craig Golding
Coates stood out in a stirring performance for Brisbane. Image: AAP Image/Craig Golding

 

Seven runs for 38 metres isn't great return while little bloopers cost Brisbane twice and almost gifted Cronulla a try of their own.

So, as much as Queensland would love to brand him "Little GI", it shouldn't - because it undermines Coates' own potential.

That leaping highlight reel was just a glimpse of what an error-free, physically mature Coates can bring in the future and NSW should be very, very worried.