Hopoate: I want to go out on a high

Manly winger Will Hopoate says a Grand Final victory on Sunday over the New Zealand Warriors would be the “perfect” way to end his current stint with the club.

Hopoate is taking a two-year sabbatical from the game to complete a mission with the Mormon Church.

The son of former Manly bad-boy John Hopoate, the 19-year-old has been a sensation this year, scoring 14 tries and earning a call up to represent New South Wales in game two of the State of Origin series.

Despite recieving interest from a number of rival clubs, Hopoate’s faith has remained the priority in his decision.

But he admits that a victory on Sunday in front of a packed ANZ Stadium crowd would be pretty special.

“It would be the perfect way to go out,” Hopoate said.

“It’s a dream of every footballer and for me to have it so early in my career, I’d be very grateful for a premiership.”

“I’m still looking forward to serving my mission, but for now I’m focusing, as the boys are, to prepare the best we can for Sunday.”

“I’ve made my decision, and that’s that. Nothing is going to change it. But to win a grand final would be a dream come true and something that I’d cherish forever.”

His father John, despite being a regular headline-maker not always for the right reasons, remains a source of guidance.

“He’s been a big influence in my life and my career, and his advice helps me out a lot,” added Hopate jnr.

“He said the feeling of winning a grand final is massive and that’s something I’d like to have. In saying that, there are 80 minutes to go in the season, and we’ve got to put it all in.”

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