Parramatta centre Will Hopoate has revealed a groin problem has hampered his first two months of the season and is the reason why he was rested for the City-Country fixture.
The 22-year-old missed this year’s Auckland Nines due to the same injury but admitted it’s been an issue throughout the first third of the NRL season.
Hopoate addressed the injury with the club’s medical staff over the representative weekend and says he should be ready to go for this Sunday afternoon’s clash against Melbourne.
“I should be right for this weekend. I’m looking forward to training and preparing for it,” he said on Monday.
“It’s been a while now, probably since pre-season it started to niggle. Obviously it grows over time and game each week it hurts it. It’s feeling okay at the moment. I can’t wait to get out and run and see how it feels.”
In his first season since going on a two-year Mormon mission between 2012-13, the former Manly flyer played one game for NSW in 2014 and could’ve pressed his claims for another Origin jumper in the City Country fixture in Wagga Wagga last weekend.
But he instead chose to treat the injury.
“I got the groin sorted out throughout the week with an injection there. That definitely helped having a few days off as I needed to let it heal and recover. It’s been playing up for a while now,” he said.
“Laurie [Daley] knows what he’s doing. He’s going to do what’s best for the state. To be honest, it’s not on the forefront of my mind. I’m just playing the best that I can for Parramatta. Whatever comes off the back of that is a bonus.
After starting the season at fullback, Hopoate was been shifted back to the centres by coach Brad Arthur with Reece Robinson moving into the backfield.
Hopoate admitted his form hadn’t been up to scratch so far this season but refused to use his groin issue as an excuse.
“I feel I haven’t been in best form in general,” he said.
“The groin’s not an excuse. You run out onto the field, you should play well for the boys. I’d like to improve from that first third of the season. Hopefully that can start this weekend against Melbourne.
“I enjoyed it back there [at fullback]. Brad thought it’d be best for me to move back into the centres. I’m all for the team and if that’s where he’d have me play then so be it.”