Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin



A WAR of words has broken out between Kevin Walters and Craig Bellamy with the Broncos coach hitting back at Melbourne’s claim that Xavier Coates’ axing at Brisbane could affect his mental welfare.

Coates has signed with the Storm for next season and the Broncos winger’s immediate future at Red Hill is in limbo following his mysterious dumping for Saturday night’s clash against the Panthers at Suncorp Stadium.

Rested last week following Origin III duties, Coates has been overlooked for the Panthers clash despite being fully fit, fuelling suggestion­s Walters is planning for the future without the Melbourne-bound flyer.

The Storm looked into the possibilit­y of securing Coates before the NRL’s August 2 transfer deadline to help the Maroons young gun settle into Melbourne before his planned club debut next year.

Storm coach Bellamy says Brisbane‘s treatment of Coates is a “bit harsh”, but Walters dismissed an early release for the 20-year-old, insisting he remains in the Broncos’ selection frame.

“Certainly Xavier hasn’t played his last game for the Broncos,” the Broncos coach said. “We hold him in high regard here, he is a good young player but I just feel we need some stability so that‘s why we have rested him.”

The Storm rate Coates so highly they have signed him to replace Canterbury-bound Josh Addo-Carr next season and Bellamy has been left surprised by Brisbane‘s demotion of the PNG internatio­nal.

“He’s a contracted player with the club there, so if they don’t want to play him, they’re well within their rights there,” Bellamy said. “But it seems a bit harsh and I’m not quite sure what that does to Xavier’s mental wellbeing if he’s fit to play and he’s not playing.”

 ??  ?? Xavier Coates.
Xavier Coates.

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