Queensland rocked by shocking injury to Maroons star: ‘It’s not great’

  • Xavier Coates has a painful hamstring injury
  • Maroons star had to be helped off the field
  • Appears in major doubt for the Origin decider

Xavier Coates looks doubtful for the decider in the State of Origin competition after the Queensland winger suffered a hamstring injury during Melbourne’s 16-6 win over Canberra.

Coates limped off AAMI Park on Saturday night after attempting to dive for the ball. Trainers had to help him to the locker rooms.

The injury, his second hamstring injury of the season, threatens his participation in the third Origin match in Brisbane on July 17.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said Coates would undergo scans but admitted things did not look good for the 23-year-old.

“Obviously it’s not great, you know, he’s had some issues,” Bellamy said.

‘Until he actually has a scan we won’t know exactly how serious the injury is, but I don’t think it will do much good.

‘I don’t think he would be available (for Origin), but I don’t think the medical staff would make that prediction before they see a scan either.’

Physiotherapist Brien Seeney, who runs the popular NRL Physio account on social media platform X, said Coates would need four to eight weeks to recover.

Xavier Coates (pictured) looks doubtful for the deciding State of Origin match after the Queensland winger suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday evening

Xavier Coates (pictured) looks doubtful for the deciding State of Origin match after the Queensland winger suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday evening

While Coates withdrew from Wednesday’s Origin II match next door at the MCG, Melbourne skipper Harry Grant was rested while star fullback Ryan Papenhuzen was also missing with a foot injury.

With Cameron Munster already injured, the Storm struggled to convert their surplus of possession in the first half into points.

However, the Raiders do deserve credit for their defensive efforts, especially after giving up 82 points in their last two losses.

Canberra ultimately made 345 tackles to the Storm’s 223, with five ruck violations by the visitors in the first half alone.

It wasn’t until the 36th minute that Melbourne broke through to take a 6–0 lead, thanks to prop Josh King finding a gap created by Canberra captain Elliott Whitehead running out of the defensive line.

After a number of mistakes in the first half, Canberra fullback Kaeo Weekes made up for it with a brilliant 90-metre sprint one minute into the second half. This put him on level terms with the NRL leader: 6-6.

Coates limped off AAMI Park after attempting to dive for the ball

Coates limped off AAMI Park after trying to dive for the ball

But Melbourne took the lead again when dummy half Bronson Garlick found Shawn Blore, who crossed the line four minutes later.

That margin was increased to 10 points when promising young center Jack Howarth scored his first NRL try in the 51st minute.

Coates appeared to decide the match, but the video referee ruled it a ‘knee foul’, giving the Raiders hope of closing the gap.

But being reduced to 15 men after losing debutant Jordan Martin, Ati Mariota and Jordan Rapana to headers made the formidable task even more difficult.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was pleased with his team’s response after recent heavy losses, describing it as their ‘best defensive performance this year’, but said they gave the Storm too much possession.

“If you look at the amount of tackles we had to make on their tackles, it was almost double,” Stuart said.

‘You can’t just keep turning over so much football, we just made it too difficult for ourselves.’

Stuart questioned a number of refereeing and bunker decisions, particularly the many six-on-a-ruck calls that took their toll on his team.

“We were on the wrong side of the guessing game again,” he said.

‘They just gamble, those six-in-a-rows, they just gamble.

“I’ll give one away here, and one away there.”

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