Star hospitalised in ‘brutal’ Broncos try
The Brisbane Broncos have come up with the perfect response to the club's first wooden spoon, blowing the Parramatta Eels in the first half of 2021.
It looked like more of the same from the Broncos in the very first play of the year when Xavier Coates threw a forward pass after receiving the kick off.
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But after stopping the Eels from scoring in the next set, the Broncos had it all their own way.
David Mead score the first try before a chip from Anthony Milford found Coates in the corner and all of a sudden, the NRL was looking at a brand new Broncos under Kevin Walters.
A club legend, Walters would have been thrilled by the result, particularly when Coates scored his second with 10 minutes left in the first half.
But it also gives him a headache with Coates taken from the field after an ugly put down.
As Milford threw the long cut out pass to Coates, the Bronco was always in pole position to ground the ball.
It looked like the perfect way to celebrate his 20th birthday but his day quickly went downhill.
In a race to the line with Eels skipper Clint Gutherson, Coates swan dived for the corner and placed the ball down but the collision landed the Bronco on his head.
The contact was cleared by the bunker but it was a horrible moment.
Both men were worse for wear after the collision.
But Coates was in far worse condition.
Michael Ennis called it "brutal" and upon watching replays, the commentators were shocked by the try.
"He came down heavily," Warren Smith said. "He must have slid 3-4m on his head."
Ennis added: "He does not look well Xavier Coates, he doesn't look well at all."
Gee Coates landed prett heavily on his head / neck there... 😖 #NRL— Veronica Eggleton (@veggleton) March 12, 2021
It was a brutal blow for the Broncos having already lost prop Matt Lodge to a hamstring injury.
But early in the second half, it was revealed that Coates was going to hospital for scans on his neck, having been ruled out with the head injury assessment.
While the injuries are a concern for the Broncos who were renowned for poor second halves, the first half couldn't have gone much better for Walters' men.
60 per cent of possession with an 87 per cent completion rate to the Eels' 53 per cent, it's so far so good for the Broncos.
"Great start, great for Kevvie Walters," Greg Alexander told Fox League.
"Nearly had the perfect half, really," Mal Meninga added.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, the side couldn't hold on with injuries leaving the Broncos short handed as they ran out of steam with the Eels claiming a 24-16 win.
Originally published as Star hospitalised in 'brutal' Broncos try