NRL 2 years ago

Hopoate welcome at Manly: Barrett

  • Hopoate welcome at Manly: Barrett

New Manly coach Trent Barrett has praised John Hopoate as a generous and honest person after the controversial rugby league figure's appointment as SG Ball coach for the NRL club next season.

Hopoate's rise up the Sea Eagles' coaching and development ranks still has to be approved by the NRL, but Barrett says the 41-year-old has shown great promise as a rugby league mentor.

"He has a lot to offer as a coach; not a lot of people probably know the real John Hopoate," Barrett told AAP.

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"He is a very generous person, he is a very honest person and I know he does a terrific job with those kids.

"He is more than welcome at our football club."

Hopoate's playing career came to an end in 2005, when he was suspended for 17 matches for an ugly 'tackle' on former Cronulla forward Keith Galloway.

That came after his 12-match ban in 2001 for sticking his fingers up the backside of opposition players.

Hopoate holds the inglorious record as the NRL's most-suspended player. He spent an incredible 45 weeks on the sidelines due to his transgressions.

Last year, Hopoate was the subject of a Manly Junior Rugby League investigation over the alleged abuse of a referee in an under-10s fixture.

Barrett said Hopoate had made mistakes but had also admitted to that.

"I think he has put it (controversies) behind him," Barrett said of the Tongan assistant coach.

"The people that have those (bad) opinions of him probably don't know a lot about him.

"Everyone has made mistakes and Hoppa has always put his hands up for that. There is no issue there."

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