SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 20: John Hopoate of the Eagles looks on after being sent off for a high tackle on Keith Galloway during the round two NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Cronulla Sharks held at Brookvale Oval on March 20, 2005 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

John Hopoate has been banned from any involvement in rugby league for 10 years by NSW Rugby League.

Hopoate fronted the NSWRL conduct review panel on Wednesday night after pleading guilty to three counts of contrary conduct and one of striking while playing for Narraweena against Forestville.

Hopoate claimed he’d been provoked by an opposing player and that was what led to the incident.

“No-one gets angry for no reason … I was called a ‘f…..g black monkey’ and I didn’t like it so I threatened to bash him and I’d do it again,” Hopoate told the panel.

The NSW Rugby League Chief Executive David Trodden said: “Every governing body has an obligation to the participants who play our game to ensure they can play in a safe and enjoyable environment.

“Incidents like these, which challenge that safe and enjoyable environment and damage the reputation of our sport, have no place in our game and must be dealt with appropriately to protect our game and the vast majority of participants who respect its rules.”

Hopoate, who was already serving a suspension after pleading guilty to a medium range striking offence from the same match in a Manly District Junior Rugby League competition on 21 July, will not be eligible to play or have a role as an official in a Rugby League match until at least 21 July 2023.

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