Qld bolter Coates glides into Origin fray

Teenager Xavier Coates could be among Queensland's Origin debutants selected for Game 1 in Adelaide.
Teenager Xavier Coates could be among Queensland's Origin debutants selected for Game 1 in Adelaide.

Teenage winger Xavier Coates has emerged as the shock answer in an injury-hit backline for Wayne Bennett's Queensland State of Origin underdogs.

The Brisbane 19-year-old has just 15 NRL games under his belt and was caught off guard when added to the Maroons' squad during his end-of-season break.

Ben Ikin was only 18 when he debuted for Queensland after just four first-grade games with Brett Dallas (13) the only other to have played fewer than Coates before their first Maroons experience.

Valentine Holmes is suspended for Game 1 while Kyle Feldt, Corey Oates, Kalyn Ponga, Michael Morgan and Moses Mbye are all injured.

Experienced South Sydney back Dane Gagai - who can play wing or centre - will likely be the only member of the Maroons back five to have played Origin before when they run out at Adelaide Oval next Wednesday.

It's left the fresh-faced Coates in a battle with Phillip Sami, Corey Allan and Edrick Lee for a starting spot.

"It's pretty tough to believe it, after everything that's happened this year, but I'm absolutely stoked to be here, the boys have been so welcoming and we've bonded really well," Coates said.

"Not at all (did I expect the call-up); I had planned a holiday and they gave me fitness programs, so I wasn't slacking off but I never expected to be picked at all."

Coates was born in Port Moresby and played a solitary Test for Papua New Guinea last year.

His pace and athleticism was a breath of fresh air in Brisbane's historic wooden spoon season, reminding some of the man Coates said was "pretty much everyone's Origin hero".

"When I was young watching them play there was no one better than Greg Inglis; he was my hero coming through and a lot of other people's too," he said.

Nine debutants could be named in Bennett's side for next week's clash, something not seen since the master coach blooded 10 in a 2001 series they went on to win.

"Before the camp even started he (Bennett) said 'everyone in this camp was picked for a reason' and I'm just really happy to be here and amongst the calibre of players in this group," Coates said.

"It's not really about making a name for yourself, it's about doing your role for the team.

"I feel like I'm up for the occasion.

"Wayne has a lot of faith ... he knows you can get the job done and you have to have faith in the coach."

Australian Associated Press