Following his exit from St Helens, Will Hopoate has this morning announced his retirement via social media, bringing an end to a 13-year professional career.
The 31-year-old was one of 11 departures from the Totally Wicked Stadium at the end of the season just gone, leaving the Saints after an injury-hampered two years.
Hopoate picked up his 13th and final cap for Tonga yesterday at Headingley against England, captaining Kristian Woolf’s side in the absence of Addin Fonua-Blake.
Ahead of that clash, he remained tight-lipped when asked about his future and where his next destination would be, waiting until the series had ended to post a retirement announcement on social media.
Tonga veteran Will Hopoate announces retirement: ‘What a ride it’s been’
Over the course of his career, the outside-back – who has featured at full-back for Tonga – pulled on a shirt in the NRL for Manly Sea Eagles, Parramatta Eels & Canterbury Bulldogs as well as Saints.
In addition to Tonga and ‘Tonga invitational’, who he played twice for, he also appeared for New South Wales and the ‘Sydney Rugby League team’, otherwise known as New South Wales City Origin.
Via his Instagram account – @will_hopoate -, the Manly-born ace wrote: “What a ride it’s been. To my family, friends, and fans – thank you for your support! To all the teams I’ve represented, coaching staff, and especially my teammates that have helped me learn and love this game – I appreciate you!
“To Ty @sportsplayermanagement who I‘ve been with from start to finish, thanks for all your help through my entire journey.
“To mum and dad, thank you for all the driving you did, sacrifices you made and smacks you gave, to get me to first grade, couldn’t have made it without you, ofa lahi atu.
“And to you my wife, thank you for riding the footy roller coaster with me, holding it down at home and moving homes everywhere we have to support me.
“I was able to live my dream of being a husband, father, and footy player all at the same time because of you, love you
“Loved every minute of this career I’ve been blessed with. Looking forward to the next chapter. Thank you rugby league.”