NRL Rd 12 - Broncos v Sharks
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Kotoni Staggs and Xavier Coates of the Broncos look dejected looks dejected after their team loses the round 12 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Cronulla Sharks on July 31, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Storm are closing in on securing the signature of Broncos youngster Xavier Coates.

The Maroons flyer has long been linked to a move to Victoria after meeting with Storm coach Craig Bellamy late last year.

The off-contract winger is yet to make a call on his future, with The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield now reporting that a deal is “on the verge” of being done.

“Someone sent me a photo from the Gold Coast last December where Craig Bellamy, Xavier Coates and his manager were having a coffee at Coolangatta,” Rothfield said Big Sports Breakfast.

NRL Rd 10 - Tigers v Broncos
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 17: Xavier Coates of the Broncos looks dejected during the round 10 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Brisbane Broncos at Leichhardt Oval on July 17, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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“I then got a phone call over the weekend saying that Xavier was on a plane after his Friday night game, flying to Melbourne. He met with the Storm and had a look at their facilities.

“They tell me he’s on the verge of signing with the Storm.”

News Corp are reporting that a deal between Coates and the reigning premiers is imminent after Coates travelled to AAMI Park to tour the Storm’s facilities.

Coates looms as an ideal replacement for superstar winger Josh Addo-Carr, who will depart at season’s end for Canterbury.

Coates made his State of Origin debut for Queensland in 2020 and has impressed in the early stages of his career and the Storm are keen to strike while the iron is hot.

Brisbane are keen to re-sign the winger in a bid to avoid seeing young talent leave and thrive elsewhere, as Sam Walker and Reece Walsh have started this season superbly and would have Broncos fans disgruntled.

The exits of youthful stars have at times been the fault of the club, as Walker was a Broncos youth product but was turned off Red Hill when then-coach Anthony Seibold told him he was a fullback not a half.

Seibold’s time at the Broncos was a disaster for both he and the club and the Broncos are still feeling the pain from that appointment.

Rothfield said the club needed to be held more accountable for the poor decisions they are making with young players.

NRL Rd 6 - Broncos v Panthers
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 15: Xavier Coates of the Broncos breaks away from the defence during the round six NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium, on April 15, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“Why and how are these outstanding young players being allowed to go? It’s just really poor recruitment. Something needs to be done, and done urgently to stop any more getting out of their system. This is a real problem,” he said.

“It should be Dave Donaghy’s first job as the new CEO to get this sorted out.”

Walsh departed for New Zealand earlier than anticipated, as he was originally meant to arrive across the ditch in 2022 as the replacement for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

However the Warriors have shuffled the deck around to get Walsh in their team, who has thrived at fullback and five-eighth to show his flexibility.

Both Walsh and Walker would likely be having substantia impacts on the Broncos this season and could have been priceless assets for the club in a period of rebuild.