Ex-NRL star John Hopoate banned for 10 years

Drew Darbyshire

Former Manly and Wests star John Hopoate has been banned for 10 years, with the final five years suspended, for three code of conduct charges.

The 44-year-old was sent-off last month while playing for Narraweena Hawks and he appeared in the NSWRL conduct review panel on Wednesday and they determined the very serious nature of the charges warranted the lengthy suspension.

He was charged for punching opposition players against Forestville Ferrets in a local game. It was alleged that Hopoate also threated players of the Ferrets side.

Hopoate, who was already serving a suspension after pleading guilty to a medium range striking offence from the same game, will not be eligible to play or have a role as an official in a rugby league match until at least July 21, 2023.

The NSWRL 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 sage 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 is the father of Tonga star Will Hopoate, made 209 NRL appearances for Manly Sea Eagles, Wests Tigers and Northern Eagles between 1993 and 2005.