Albert Hopoate, son of former NRL player John Hopoate, has been making waves in the league this year. The 22-year-old has impressed with his performances for the Canberra Raiders, even displacing representative winger Nick Cotric from the starting lineup. Hopoate’s upcoming match against the St George Illawarra Dragons is expected to showcase his considerable skills once again.
John Hopoate, known for his controversial playing career which included a premiership win with Manly in 1996, is full of pride when discussing his son Albert. Despite serving a total of 45 weeks in suspensions, including a 12-match ban for poking opponents, Hopoate’s affection for his son shines through. He expressed his desire for Albert to play with more aggression and intensity, much like himself.
Albert Hopoate‘s journey has not been without obstacles. He had to overcome two serious knee reconstructions, but has now regained his confidence on the field. John Hopoate believes that his son is capable of even better performances and pushes him harder than anyone else because he is his father. The Raiders‘ coach, Ricky Stuart, has been a positive influence on Albert, providing guidance and support as he finds his place in the team.
Hopoate’s rise to prominence has even threatened the reputation of his older brother, Will, who currently plays for St Helens in the UK-based Super League. Will has always been regarded as the most likeable Hopoate, but Albert’s recent success has put him in the spotlight. John Hopoate praises his son Albert for his determination and resilience in the face of adversity.
Stuart, who has crossed paths with several members of the Hopoate family throughout his coaching career, commends Brenda Hopoate, John’s wife, for raising their 11 children and keeping John in check. Stuart reveals that he had received positive feedback about Albert from assistant coach John Cartwright when considering him for the Raiders. The coach acknowledges that Albert had to overcome injuries and undergo extensive physical preparation before making his mark in the league.
Unfortunately, John Hopoate will be unable to attend Albert’s game against the Dragons as he will be participating in a Legends of League game in country Queensland. He has given priority to his daughter, Kalosipani, who plays for the Sydney Roosters‘ NRLW team, in the event of a scheduling conflict.
Despite missing this match, Hopoate’s impact on the field is evident. Old footage resurfaced this week showcasing his contribution to a long-range try by NSW State of Origin debutant Bradman Best. Hopoate evaded two Queensland defenders before setting up the play for Best to finish. His skills and contributions have earned him a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Raiders until the end of 2025.