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Xavier's top five Origin moments

Queensland Maroons gazelle Xavier Coates thrives in the State of Origin arena.

Thinking back to his interview following his debut at Adelaide Oval in Game I in 2020, the pure joy of donning maroon, realising his dream and representing the state exuded from him.

Coates has now played eight games for the Maroons and said he loved it every time.

“Wearing maroon is a special kind of feeling,” Coates said.

“As a young kid playing junior footy at Currumbin Eagles, all I ever wanted to do was pull on that Maroons jersey.

“To do it now is a pretty special feeling. To do it with the boys that I’m doing it with and the history that we have here at the Maroons, it’s something pretty special.”

Coates said Origin was always special in his household growing up, which helped spur his dream to play.

“Origin, for me as a kid, was sitting around the TV on a Wednesday night… we ordered pizza and we’d get a fair few snacks, and we’d sit around the TV,” Coates said.

“I just remember big GI and his big right hand fend, running down the sideline. I look back at that now and think ‘man, that was something pretty special’. I keep using the word special because that’s what it is. To be in the position that I am now, I am loving every minute of it.”

Coates said it blew his mind children sat in their loungerooms now watching him, idolising him in the way he idolised Greg Inglis.

“It’s pretty crazy to think that not that long ago I was doing the exact same thing… sitting around the TV with my family watching the Queensland Maroons play… and now I’m in the position where I get to pull it on and go and play at Suncorp Stadium… that’s pretty crazy,” Coates said.

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“It’s a crazy feeling to put that into perspective, that kids sort of look up to me. It still hasn’t really sunk in yet because I know I still look up to those Former Origin Greats who were pulling on the Maroons jersey like Greg Inglis, Matty Bowen.

“All those people who pulled on the jersey, I was idolising them. I still am today. Those kids that are watching us play on TV, they’re idolising us now, and that’s crazy to me.”

Coates said for him, there were five Origin moments, that stood out to him for different reasons.

Top five Origin moments

1. Matty Bowen’s intercept try

"One that sticks out for me is Matty Bowen’s intercept when he was on the wing, to seal the deal, for the Queensland Maroons to win the Origin. I just remember idolising Matty Bowen, a quick little fella and there wasn’t much size to him, but then he had a lot of heart and that’s something that really stuck out for me."

23 - Matty Bowen's intercept try

2. Billy Slater’s chip and chase

"Next has got to be Billy Slater’s chip and chase. Everyone’s got to have that one in there. I remember everyone always calling him ‘Billy the kid’, even though he hit 25 years old and they were still calling him that. Darren Lockyer put a grubber kick through and Billy regathered, put a little chip over the top and ended up scoring. Pretty crazy."

3. Greg Inglis

"I want to put Greg Inglis in, but there’s too many moments of his. There’s at least 10 Greg Inglis moments… every time he got the ball maybe. Man, even being able to sit down in front of the TV and watch Greg Inglis go to work. It was an honour to sit down and watch him play. To be part of that. I don’t know if there’s a particular moment, I just remember seeing big GI with the right-hand fend, running down the sideline and setting up Darius Boyd for a few tries. They made a pretty good combination on that left edge."

Origin's greatest try-scorer

4. The 2020 Origin series

"Being part of the 2020 Origin series, I know we got called the worst Origin team in the history of Queensland Maroons but I think we really came out and showed what that Queensland Maroons jersey means to us and a lot of the people writing us off, especially New South Welshmen… I think we stuck to our guns. We knew what we could achieve and so that 2020 series holds a special place in my heart. Being able to be part of that team. I was only 19-years-old. It was something special. I only had a handful of NRL games but to be amongst that squad was… I keep touching on the word special… but that’s what it was."

5.  Debut try in Game I, 2020

"I have to give props to Gags, because he helped me out a fair bit. He did all of the work. I remember Dozer sent him a pass and he did all of the work, all of the build up to the try and pretty much ran the length of the field before tipping it off to me at the end. That was something special. I remember family calling me straight after the game. They weren’t able to head to the game because of COVID, which was a bit difficult. But I remember them calling me after the game, telling me how proud they were of me and my achievements. That kept me going, chasing that dream of still pulling on that Maroons jersey. Always having that drive to pull it on. That has to be up there. It happened very, very quick. I honestly don’t know what happened or what came over me, I just remember throwing the ball to the ground and yelling and Gags jumping on me and all the boys coming in. Man, it happened so quick. Bit of a blur. And then after the game, took a bit of time to reflect on, I ended up watching the replay a few times. I was loving it so much. That group was a special group. All the boys who pull on the Maroons jersey, there’s something special that happens when we do that."

In the sheds: Xavier Coates


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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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