Will Hopoate: 2014 Eels Recruit
Tuesday 20 August 2013 2:00 PM
Will Hopoate may still be months away from joining the club that will be his home for at least the next two seasons, but that doesn't mean he's slacking off on his training.
The Pirtek Parramatta Eels have been sending Strength and Conditioning Coach Ciriaco "Cherry" Mescia to Brisbane every month to make sure the 21 year old winger continues his training regime while serving the end of his two year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I'm excited to get back into my training, I've still a bit to go, but I'm very grateful," Will said when we caught up with him last month.
"Obviously the main focus is why I'm here - serving the Lord - but in the mornings we get a bit of time for ourselves, so I've got to prepare myself mentally for the things the club's asked me to do, so I can hopefully perform next year."
But Will's the first to admit the training schedule doesn't come without its challenges.
"I think for myself trying to push myself with no coach or boys to push me along, [that's hard], but having a friend up here helps me out a lot."
Will says he's excited about joining the Blue and Gold Army from next season, particularly the coaching staff.
"I heard about Sticky going to the club, and obviously I've been blessed to be coached under him before [at State of Origin], so I'm looking forward yo being coached and mentored by the coaching staff at Parramatta."
The average day for Will while on his mission includes two hours of study and 11 hours of door-knocking and teaching.
"It's been everything and more. Obviously there's been some challenges but it's helped me be stronger mentally, and the blessing it's bringing I don't think I'll be able to get elsewhere."
"It's helped me to be more diligent trying to balance things with my footy and my family, but the main focus right now is my purpose here."
"There are obviously good memories [from footy] and rugby league is the sport that I love - but what I'm doing now is very fulfilling, and hopefully there are more memories to come from next year onwards."
Having left behind the rigours of daily football for two years on his mission, Will says another hurdle will be the gruelling pre-season ahead.
"Pre-season whether you're fit or not is going to be a challenge - but it's something I'm looking forward to," he said.
"The only pre-season I'm ever going to look forward to, I think! Getting back into things, it's exciting.