Coates breaks silence, sends message to Broncos fans
Broncos coach Kevin Walters says the departure of star winger Xavier Coates to Melbourne next year will not de-rail his plans to rebuild the struggling Brisbane club.
The Coates signing saga was finally confirmed on Sunday, with Melbourne announcing the 20-year-old to a two-year deal from the 2022 season in a huge coup for the club.
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The Maroons winger told his Brisbane teammates in the aftermath of Saturday's 19-18 loss to the Cowboys that he will be linking with the Storm next season, despite their attempts to urge him to remain at Red Hill.
"The Broncos are a great club and they have played a huge role in helping me get to where I am today," Coates said.
"This was a really hard decision to make but I promise that I will give my best for the Broncos, my teammates and our fans every moment for the rest of the year."
Coates is the latest young Brisbane star to defect from the club in the past 18 months - joining the likes of Tom Dearden (Cowboys), Reece Walsh (Warriors), David Fifita (Titans) and Sam Walker (Roosters).
Walters admitted the loss of Coates was "not great for the Broncos" but declared the club will move on.
"It is disappointing for sure because we like to keep our kids who have been in our system for several years," Walters said.
"How big a loss is it? Well, I don't really know.
"We lost an Immortal in Wally Lewis back in 1991 to a rival club and we we've seemed to have survived from that so I think we'll survive from this one.
"One player doesn't make a team.
"We've got a couple of good young kids coming through, which we are keen to develop but we'll look at that over the next week to see where we're at.
"There's plenty of good players on the market if we do go to market, that would want to come play at our club.
"We're a big club, we're a strong club."
Walters was adamant the loss of Coates would not throw a spanner in the works for his own plans to rebuild the Brisbane club.
"Not at all," he said.
"He was one we wanted to keep for sure but we haven't been able to do that.
"We wish him all the best for his future career and well move on."
Melbourne's football boss Frank Ponissi said Coates had been on Melbourne's radar for several years and was excited to have finally nabbed the Queensland Origin winger.
"Xavier has already shown he is one of the best young wingers in the game, but at just 20 years of age there is still plenty more he can achieve and develop in his game," Ponissi said.
"He was a player who was always on our radar, with his connections with Storm going back to his junior days when he was part of the Easts Academy aligned with Storm.
"We know there were a number of clubs interested in signing Xavier, but he was very keen to experience what Storm has to offer.
"Our members and fans will really enjoy his style of football and I know our NRL squad will be very happy to welcome him as a Storm player from 2022."
"It's pleasing to have his contract settled and we'll look forward to seeing him in Melbourne for pre- season."
Originally published as Coates breaks silence, sends message to Broncos fans