The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have upped the ante in the battle for William Hopoate, offering the teenager $1 million over three seasons to leave Manly.
The Canterbury hierarchy met with Hopoate 10 days ago, with the club going all-out to snare the NRL’s hottest property.
Manly remain confident Hopoate’s strong family connection with the club will ensure he remains at the Eagles.
The fight for Hopoate is a far cry from the 1980s handshake agreement struck by former CEOs Peter ‘Bullfrog’ Moore and Ken Arthurson, who had a verbal guarantee to refrain from poaching each other’s players.
The Bulldogs snuck under Manly’s guard last year to sign halfback Trent Hodkinson and it would increase tension between the clubs if they snared Hopoate.
There is no question the Sea Eagles have a strong bargaining chip with the Hopoate family connection, who live locally in Narraweena and are devout members of the northern beaches Mormon church.