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Xavier Coates’ match-winning try was lauded as the best in NRL history, but Storm coach Craig Bellamy delivered an even greater accolade for his star winger.

“Since he’s been here, he’s been one of our hardest workers,” Bellamy said. “He’s probably had nearly the best pre-season of anyone we’ve ever had here, this pre-season.”

It was high praise from the man who has had charge of Melbourne since 2003.

But even Bellamy had never seen a finish quite like the one which extended the Storm’s winning streak against the Warriors to 15 matches, with a 30-26 triumph, after an astonishing try to Coates on the last play of the game.

His acrobatic effort went viral on Saturday night, with former Storm premiership winning halfback Cooper Cronk on Fox Sports dubbing it "the greatest individual effort for someone to win a match".

Xavier Coates on THAT try

Coates emphasised training and preparation was crucial to his success.

“I don’t really know what to say to be honest, because I’m still a bit mind-blown about what just happened,” the 23-year-old Coates told

“In training you practice with these situations, and when situations come up on the field you feel confident in your own ability because you’ve done it a thousand times in training.

“You’ve just got to rely on your training. If you’ve done the work you should be confident in your ability on the field.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Bellamy in the post-match press conference.

Storm v Warriors – Round 2, 2024

“He just didn’t do that tonight - he practices that,” the veteran coach emphasised.

“That’s why you train. To do the things that you’re good at, and try and get better at, and be consistent at, so that’s the mentality of it.

“We know what we want to do, we know if we do these things as a footy team, we’re going to be really hard to beat.”

Coates revealed after the match how he perfected his finishing skills at training.

“I definitely practice it on the footy field in training,” he said. “We get the big pads out and we put them on the side. I get someone to pass me the ball and come across and sort of push me over.

“I have to try to plant the ball down and get my body into certain positions where I can get the ball down without the ball being whacked out by the defending coming across.

Ryan Papenhuyzen Try

"It is definitely something I work on at training and I am just happy that it came off in a game.”   

While players and coach largely stuck to the script of hard work and training, there was always going to be emotion attached to such an extraordinary finish.

Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, whose second try with three minutes to go set the stage for Coates’ grandstand finish, was elated with the result.

“I haven’t had a feeling like that on the field for a long time, so that sums it up quite well,” he told

His coach was more reserved, but admitted it was “right up there” in regards to match-winners in his lifetime.

How did Hughes stop him?

“That finish was quite unbelievable,” he said. “To come up with that in the last 10 seconds is unbelievable.”

The game began with the Storm on the front foot, but the Warriors wrested back control after the half-time break.

“The majority of the second half they were rolling us, they were fully in control of the game,” captain Harry Grant said at the post-match press conference.

“They’re a hard forward pack to handle, then you’ve got Johnson chiming in with his game management, putting us in some really tricky situations.

“They’re definitely a team that’s going to be there at the end of the year.”

Coates agreed that there was room for improvement, but that ultimately, the win was the most important factor.

“There’s a lot of things that we can do a lot better and we’re going to come back and review and look at what we can do better but you know, we got the win,” the winger continued.

“We got the two points, and that’s the main thing. We practice for these types of situations, being down and out. We fell back on our training and ended up getting the win, which is something that we should be really proud of.”

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