18 STARS OF 2018 | Albert Hopoate
To whet the appetite ahead of the 2018 Rugby League season, NSWRL.com.au looks at some of the up-and-coming male and female stars who will hope to represent NSW. Today, we run the eye over a player with a famous surname fast making a name of his own.
In one fell swoop, Albert Hopoate, son of former Tiger and Sea Eagle John and brother of Bulldog Will, made a name for himself.
Playing for Manly against the Roosters in the Harold Matthews Under-16s competition, Hopoate, in a 15-second burst of brutality and athleticism, showed what he can do on a Rugby League field.
Taking the ball one off the ruck just 10 metres off his own line, the Sea Eagles fullback turned on Beast Mode – bursting upfield and leaving a wake of destruction on a run that left the Roosters’ defence scattered like tenpins at the local AMF. Hopoate stormed his way through or burned his way past no less than nine defenders – some even twice… or thrice! – to score arguably the best individual try of the entire 2017 Rugby League season… across all competitions.
Unlike some players with famous bloodlines, Hopoate, one of 10 children, doesn’t see feel the weight of expectation.
“He’s been the perfect example and I always try to ask tips from him,” Albert, just 16, says of Will.
“He’s always been there, always tries to come to my games and tells me where I need to improve.
Rest assured, if history is anything to go by, Albert, who featured in the victorious NSW Under-16s in 2017 and plays for the Beacon Hill Bears, will follow in his father’s and brother’s footsteps and make a name for himself in the top grade at some stage. The 2018 season could be another year he takes more giant strides toward that goal.