Older Hopoate still a willing Eels recruit despite younger brother's sacking

Jamil Hopoate (R) with dad John.
Jamil Hopoate (R) with dad John.

The manager of Parramatta recruit William Hopoate said the decision by the Eels hierarchy to tear up the star player's younger brother Jamil's contract for a disciplinary breach would have no impact on his playing there in 2014.

Jamil was considered one of Parramatta's most promising players but his time with the club ended on Tuesday after he broke a NRL rookie camp for a night on the town with friends. He was punished after he also missed the squad's breakfast, other formalities and the morning training session.

Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday that Hopoate ignored at least five officials who tried to convince him to remain in the camp.

"It's very disappointing," said the Hopoate brothers' manager Tyran Smith, a former New Zealand league international. "However, it's not going to impact on William joining the club.

"[Jamil's actions] pushed Parramatta into a corner. They are wanting to change things out there, like the culture, and they couldn't make an exception. It's unfortunate, but we have to accept the consequences of a decision Jamil really regrets.

"He apologised to the [Parramatta] officials for what happened, and it was a genuine apology. He has to learn from this and hopefully he can get an opportunity at another club."

William Hopoate, who last year represented the NSW State of Origin team and then won the grand final with Manly, took a two-year sabbatical from the sport to undertake his religious duties as a member of the Mormon church where he is serving as a missionary in south-east Queensland.

He's living a spartan life which includes not watching television, not listening to the radio, abstaining from alcohol and having limited social contact with people from outside of the church.

Jamil Hopoate, a ball-playing backrower who represented Parramatta's under-20s team last season, was charged by police in November for drink-driving, He had his provisional driver's license suspended for six months and was also fined $500 after he returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.127.

Smith said Hopoate's parents - his father John represented Australia in league - wanted him to learn from that mistake and they made him catch the bus from their home on the northern beaches to Wynyard where he'd take the train to Parramatta and then walk from the station to the stadium for training.

"He was doing well, too," said Smith. "The [round] trip was taking him anywhere from three to four hours but it was re-enforcing that having a driver's license was a privilege."

This story Older Hopoate still a willing Eels recruit despite younger brother's sacking first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.