Much coveted free agent Albert Hopoate may call the nation’s capital home in 2021.
According to The Daily Telegraph‘s Fatima Kdouh, Hopoate and his management toured Canberra’s headquarters on Monday of this week.
Head of recruitment for the Raiders Peter Mullholland confirmed the report and also stated that further conversations between the two parties would soon commence.
“He came down to have a look. We are interested in any young player that has talent and potential and Albert is certainly one of those players. He was the outstanding player in his group coming through,” Mulholland said.
Despite losing Nick Cotric to the Bulldogs this off-season, should Hopoate join the Green Machine, he will add depth of flare to the club’s backline stocks that already includes Curtis Scott, Bailey Simonsson and Semi Velemei.
Following a pair of ACL injuries last season, Hopoate – the son of former Sea Eagle John – made his debut in Round 16 for Manly, before playing every game for the remainder of the season.
Prior to his debut, the 19-year-old also spent time with the New Zealand Warriors in 2020 as an unused loanee.
Mulholland expressed publicly that should the Raiders sign Hopoate, then the club’s tag of being unable to sign or retain talent will be unwarranted.
The long time recruitment manager heaped praise on head coach Ricky Stuart for positively altering the stigma surrounding the club.
“Ricky has done a tremendous job in turning around the way the club was once perceived. We are the ones turning players away now. We are now getting phone calls about players wanting to come to our club … and of course if it’s the right player for our club we are happy to take a look at it,” Mulholland said.
“Ricky has put in a position where we have a chance at the best young talent in the game.”