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‘Not great’: NRL disaster rocks entire state

NRL Rd 17 -  Storm v Raiders
Coates leaves the field. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is fearing a stint on the sidelines for his star winger Xavier Coates and it could have representative football implications.

Coates suffered a devastating hamstring injury late in the Storm’s 16-6 win over Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on Saturday night, leaving a sour taste on what should have been a night to remember for the winger.

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The result sees the Storm move two games clear on top of the NRL table, but it was also a milestone match for Coates at the club.

“It was probably made a little bit worse tonight because that was his 50th Storm game,” Bellamy said.

“He’s in there, he’s upset and I think we can all understand why.”

It is not only the Storm who are likely to miss Coates if scans officially reveal a hamstring injury, but it is also a significant blow to Queensland’s Origin hopes.

If the worst fears are realised, the odds of the 23-year-old being available for the deciding game three against New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium on July 17 appear shot.

NRL Rd 17 -  Storm v Raiders
It doesn’t look good for Xavier Coates. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

The injury, sustained when Coates attempted to score a try late against the Raiders, was a recurrence of the right hamstring injury he sustained in round eight this season.

“Obviously it’s not great,” Bellamy said.

“He’s had a few (hamstring) issues Xavier.

“Until we actually get a scan, I don’t think we’re going to know the exact extent of the injury, but I don’t think it’s too good.

“I wouldn’t think that he’d be available (for Origin).

“I don’t think medical staff are going to make that prediction until they see a scan either.”

It was far from a polished performance by the undermanned Storm, but they were met by a pretty disciplined green Raider wall that clocked up 425 tackles.

The Storm is battling with injuries to a number of first team stars, including Ryan Papenhuyzen (heel), Cameron Munster (groin) and Nick Meaney (calf), while Harry Grant was rested after Origin, but a number of replacements are proving their worth, including Sua Faalogo, who produced a scintillating display at fullback, and Jack Howarth, who scored his first try.

“Out of our spine, Hughesy (Jahrome Hughes) was the only one that played tonight,” Bellamy said.

“The guys have to take a lot of credit from just the resilience that they’ve shown.

“I can’t remember too many pretty wins that we’ve had this year.

“They’ve just hung in there and got the job done.

“I am proud of that and I know the players are proud of that and it’s sort of hard to believe we are where we are on the table with some of the games that we’ve played, but like I said some of them have been ugly, but we’ve just found a way.”

NRL Rd 17 -  Storm v Raiders
That’s not what you want to see. Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

While it wasn’t a pretty Storm performance, secured after tries to Josh King, Shawn Blore and first time try scorer Jack Howarth, Bellamy acknowledged the efforts of the Raiders, who were under the pump after two heavy losses, to turn the game into a scrap.

“There were some good parts to our game, but we just can’t seem to get that consistency for 80 minutes, we’re just up and down,” Bellamy said.

“Having said that, in the first half especially, they (the Raiders) were hardly over halfway, so they done a great job to hang in there, I don’t know how many times they came up with a one-on-one or just a real scramble effort to stop us down on their tryline, so I thought they defended really well, really covered a lot of ground.

“We just need to be a bit more patient, disciplined.”