The Manly Sea Eagles are hoping good old-fashioned brotherly love will keep boom fullback William Hopoate at Brookvale.
The Sea Eagles have also made an offer to Hopoate’s 16-year-old brother Jamil – a powerhouse lock who averages an unbelievable 200m a game in Manly’s SG Ball under-18s team.
He’s so good that Manly’s recruitment boss Noel Cleal says he should now be playing Toyota Cup – but NRL rules do not allow kids under 17 to play in the competition. “Jamil plays like Paul Gallen,” Cleal said. “He’s very strong and very tenacious.”
The Sea Eagles are hoping it will be more appealing for Will Hopoate to remain at Manly with his brother. They are said to be extremely close.
Will has emerged this year as the NRL’s most exciting young player and has six clubs chasing his signature, including two that are offering what he wants more than anything else – the chance to wear the No.1 jersey at fullback.
Both the Dragons, who will lose Darius Boyd, and the Roosters, who have Anthony Minichiello approaching the end of his career, are dangling the fullback position in front of him. With Brett Stewart at Manly, the son of former bad boy John Hopoate realises his chances of playing in the No. 1 jersey at Brookvale are limited, at least in the immediate future.
But if he stays, Manly will have what could be an NRL first with three sets of brothers at the one club – Will and Jamil Hopoate, Brett and Glenn Stewart and Kieran and Liam Foran.