Albert Hopoate made his long-awaited NRL debut on Sunday and while it was a disappointing result for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, it was a special day that marked the first of many games for the young outside back.
Hopoate had been waiting in the wings for a majority of the 2020 campaign and was called by coach Des Hasler for their Round 16 clash against Melbourne Storm.
He recorded 10 runs, 71m and 17 tackles in his maiden first-grade appearance in their 30-6 defeat that proved he is a more than capable of filling the void of some the Sea Eagles' injured stars.
While he has no Canterbury Cup NSW games to his name, Hopoate crafted his trade in Manly Warringah's UNE Harold Matthews and SG Ball Cup sides in recent years, with his stunning 2016 and 2017 campaigns catching the eye of many.
In his 15 appearances across those two Harold Matthews seasons, the dynamic fullback produced 19 tries, 17 lin,e-breaks, and 129 tackle-breaks while averaging 144m per game.
He was then part of the CABE NSW Under 16s squad in 2017, which saw him set up an incredible long-range try for Bradman Best to claim an enthralling 22-16 win over Queensland.
Needless to say that Hopoate will provide invaluable depth for the Sea Eagles in 2020, but also has the makings of a future Rugby League superstar.