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Lehi Hopoate feels right at home at Brookvale

Lehi Hopoate could not have asked for more familiar surroundings than 4 Pines Park, Brookvale, to make his NRL debut on Friday night.

The 19-year-old full-back/centre comes into the Sea Eagles team to play the Melbourne Storm following the loss of Tolu Koula to a shoulder injury.

For Lehi, the 'Fortress' at Brookvale has almost been like a second home to him and his famous rugby league family.

Growing up, Lehi spent many days at Brookvale after his father John won a premiership with Manly in 1996. 

The eighth child of John and Brenda Hopoate, Lehi also saw older brother, William, claim a premiership title with the Sea Eagles in 2011.

Following that, there was brother, Albert, who rose through the Sea Eagles juniors to make his NRL debut for Manly in 2020.

And even this year, Lehi had the pleasure of seeing cousin, Liesl, play for the Sea Eagles in the Lisa Fiaola Cup.

Another sister, Kalosipani, plays in the NRLW and brother, Jamil, is a former NRL player, making Lehi the fifth sibling to play first grade.

A Beacon Hill Bears product from the Manly District Junior Rugby League, Lehi joined the club’s pathways program at the age of 12 and quickly showcased his skills.

He was a shining light at full-back in Manly’s undefeated Harold Matthews Cup Premiership winning team in 2021. A year later he captained the team.

In 2023, Lehi captained Manly’s SG Ball side before being promoted to the Jersey Flegg Cup.​

Lehi Hopoate on his way to the try line  for Manly in the 2023 Jersey Flegg Cup
Lehi Hopoate on his way to the try line for Manly in the 2023 Jersey Flegg Cup ©Alfred Naupoto (Manly Media)

And all of this was happening in between his secondary education at St Augustine’s College, Brookvale, located directly opposite Manly's home ground, where a young Lehi often saw Sea Eagles players walk into training, dreaming one day that could be him.

Aware of his huge potential, the Sea Eagles re-signed Lehi for a further three years last November with the quality youngster impressing the NRL squad over summer.

Manly Coach Anthony Seibold said Lehi deserves his opportunity after his tremendous form for the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup. He has scored six tries in 11 games for six try assists, 39 tackle breaks, and eight line breaks.

“It is pretty special. He is a terrific young kid. He did the pre-season with us and he did such a good job, we took him over to Vegas with us just for experience,’’ Seibold said.

Viva Las Vegas....Lehi Hopoate takes in Allegiant Stadium in March
Viva Las Vegas....Lehi Hopoate takes in Allegiant Stadium in March ©Alfred Naupoto (Manly Media)

“He has been an outstanding performer in reserve grade. He played really well against a really good Bulldogs side on the weekend. I thought he was outstanding.

“You see a lot of the young outside backs coming into the game at the moment who are full of speed and energy and are high tempo type of players. Lehi is similar to that.

“Lehi is a young guy who will bring plenty of energy.”


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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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