Agreement has been reached with the NRL and both clubs for exciting Manly Warringah Sea Eagles outside back Albert Hopoate to join the Vodafone Warriors on loan for the next four weeks.
He will link up with the Vodafone Warriors at their Terrigal base on Sunday, becoming the club’s fifth loan player overall and the fourth currently in camp.
The 19-year-old is a younger brother of Canterbury-Bulldogs fullback Will Hopoate and son of 1993-2005 NRL player John Hopoate.
“We’re hugely grateful to (head coach) Des Hasler and the Sea Eagles as well as the NRL for the support they’ve given us in making Albert available,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.
“We’re delighted to have Albert on board. He was a prodigious talent coming through the junior grades, representative sides and Origin age teams for New South Wales.
Albert was a prodigious talent coming through the junior gradesPeter O'Sullivan Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager
“Unfortunately, injury has curtailed his NRL aspirations so far but we are looking forward to seeing him play for the Vodafone Warriors.
“Albert is a player who can handle fullback, wing and centre and is uncanny in his likeness to older brother Will.”
Hopoate comes into the squad to provide much-needed depth in the outside backs following the loss of experienced wingers David Fusitu’a and Ken Maumalo, who returned home last month for family reasons.
“Again we’re so thankful to the NRL and especially to Des and Manly for allowing Albert to join us,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“It’s a great gesture and a further indication of how the loan system is a win-win for both clubs involved. We’ve been delighted with the way the arrangements have worked for us.”
A Beacon Hill Bears junior, Hopoate – 183cm and 98kg – is making his return from two knee operations after a stunning junior career. A search on You Tube unearths an array of exceptional Hopoate highlights videos.
Sydney Roosters prop Poasa Faamausili, the Vodafone Warriors’ first loan player, made four appearances before the Roosters recalled him following a spate of injuries.
He was replaced by Penrith prop Jack Hetherington who has played six times for the club but was suspended following last week’s win over Manly; he remains in camp.
Parramatta winger George Jennings and prop Daniel Alvaro are also in Terrigal after lining up for the Vodafone Warriors for the third time in last night’s clash against Penrith.