Hopoate coaching move blocked

John Hopoate won’t be returning to rugby league as Manly’s SG Ball coach next year, with the NRL reportedly banning the move.

Manly controversially announced the former bad boy as the coach of its under-18 side in October, however the game’s administrators won’t allow it according to Fairfax Media.

Hopoate, whose 45 weeks suspended is the most in the history of the NRL, is said to be devastated by the decision.

“He’s being judged for things that happened 14 or 15 years ago,” a source close to Hopoate said.

“In the legal system you can’t be imprisoned for the same crime twice but that seems to be what’s happening to John.

“He served his time for incidents he really regrets but he’s being punished for them again. It’s just not fair.”

Hopoate’s NRL career was littered with drama. The 41-year-old was suspended for 12 weeks in 2001 when he was found to be sticking his finger up three players backsides while at the Wests Tigers.

His career finally came to an end in 2005 when he was sacked by the Sea Eagles after being suspended for 17 weeks due to an extremely dangerous high tackle on Cronulla’s Keith Galloway.

He also pleaded guilty to the assault of a man outside a Kings Cross nightclub in 2010 when he was working as a responsible server of alcohol.

Earlier this week, new Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett defended the club’s decision to announce him as a mentor.

“He has a lot to offer as a coach; not a lot of people probably know the real John Hopoate,” he told AAP.

“He is a very generous person, he is a very honest person and I know he does a terrific job with those kids.

“The people that have those (bad) opinions of him probably don’t know a lot about him.

“Everyone has made mistakes and ‘Hoppa’ has always put his hands up for that. There is no issue there.”

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