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Losing Finucane would be equal to Cronk, Inglis departures says Bellamy

The Storm enquired about gaining Coates early a few weeks ago, possibly with centre Brenko Lee, who has signed with Brisbane next season, going back the other way, but that offer was turned down.

Reports have suggested the Broncos don’t plan to play the 20-year-old for the rest of the season but Bellamy said he didn’t know if Coates might be able to join the club, which has one roster spot open.

“It’s something we’ve looked at but, like, I don’t know whether the Broncos would put a line through him or not,” Bellamy said.

“If they have, you would think they wouldn’t be against letting him go early.

“If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. There’s not much we can do about it, it’s up to the Broncos.

“If they don’t want to play him, they are well within their rights, but it seems a bit harsh.

“What that does for Xavier’s mental health, if he is fit to play and is not playing, I don’t know, but it’s their decision.”

Dale Finucane in NSW State of Origin colours.Credit:Getty Images

Bellamy was coy about his plans for returning fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, confirming the Clive Churchill medallist is expected to play on Friday night but wouldn’t play all 80 minutes in his first game back since battling prolonged concussion symptoms after being knocked out on May 16.

With Origin star Cameron Munster joining second-rower Felise Kaufusi and Finucane in resting this week, there is a chance Bellamy could use current fullback Nicho Hynes or Papenhuyen in Munster’s role as five-eighth for parts of the match, along with Cooper Johns.

“We’ve got a plan and we will hopefully get a chance to put that into operation,” Bellamy said.

Earlier this week Storm prankster Brandon Smith was shown placing rocks in Bellamy’s suitcase after the team’s arrival in Noosa, where they are based while away from Melbourne.

The veteran coach will get his vengeance.

“It’s a little early [in the] year, he can expect it when he least suspects it,” Bellamy said with a grin.

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The Storm play North Queensland Cowboys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Friday at 7.55pm AEST.

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