SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Brandon Smith of the Storm gestures to the crowd with ice on his hand during the round one NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at CommBank Stadium, on March 12, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The NRL are reportedly set to investigate Melbourne Storm forward Brandon Smith for a comment he made during an interview which was conducted with Xavier Coates after last week's 60-point thrashing of the New Zealand Warriors.

The interview was being conducted with the Melbourne Storm's internal media department following the win, in which Coates scored four tries - including a hat-trick in the space of eight minutes.

The interview had only just commenced when Smith congratulated Coates with a handshake and reportedly said a pidgin English word, which caused Coates to chuckle.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report however, the word Smith used, which was picked up over the microphone during the interview, has several meanings of a sexual nature and drew criticism from fans in Papua New Guinea, where Coates was born.

Coates has also played one Test for Papua New Guinea in 2019 and will likely be selected for the island nation at the 2022 Rugby League World Cup at the end of this year, provided he doesn't make the Australian squad.

The report suggests the NRL are viewing the behaviour from Brandon Smith as "unprofessional and potentially disrespectful."

It's understood Smith has already commented internally that he doesn't know what the word means and had simply heard other players use the term.

Should the NRL issue Smith a breach notice, it would be the second time in 12 months he has been hit with a sanction by the NRL, who fined Smith $50,000 and suspended him for one game following the infamous white powder scandal last September.

It's not the first time Smith has been under fire for acts in the media either, with comments regarding his switch to the Sydney Roosters before a deal had been signed to YKTR Sports last year drawing intense criticism and a statement from the Storm suggesting the club were deeply offended.