Named 2023 Melbourne Storm Player of the Year, excitement machine Xavier Coates enjoyed a season to remember on the left-wing.
The Currumbin Eagles junior showed that age certainly isn’t a barrier as continued to run rings around opposition defensive lines, the 22-year-old running in 16 tries that included three hattricks.
Two of those hattricks came against the Sydney Roosters, Coates first running in three tries at AAMI Park in Round 6 before repeating that effort at the SCG in Round 20.
While the PNG and Queensland Maroons representative's try scoring feats should come as no surprise to Storm fans given his superb finishing and athletic ability, his elevated running game and defensive prowess has quickly put him in the conversation as one of the best wingers in the competition.
His strong running game was highlighted in his damaging kick returns and ability to piggyback his side out of trouble from their own end, running for 2,684 metres across the season and racking up 59 tackle breaks.
A hard man to catch in open space, Coates had 11 linebreaks for the season, including a clean break through the line against the Dragons in Round 25 where he left several defenders grasping at air as he raced away to score a superb 60-metre solo try.
Coates’ incredible season made even more special after earning selection in the QLD Maroons side for Games 2 and 3 of the series as well as celebrating 50 NRL games in Round 1 of the 2023 season.