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Whatever Will Hopoate has done with his life, he’s always known he has the backing of his mother and grandmother. 

With Saturday’s Dyldam Parramatta Eels clash with the Dragons part of the official Women in League round, the Eels centre says he’s grateful for everything the women in his life have done over the years. 

“It’s huge, Grandma plays a huge role in the family, and my mother is the backbone of our family, and  [they] have a huge influence on the players and the game,” Hoppa said. 

Will’s grandmother Mele paid her regular visit to the boys delivering her famous watermelon drink - which only appears after a win! 

“Its nice to drink - and she’s been a great support and comes every time we get a win, so hopefully there’s a few more to come,” Will laughed. 

The Eels will take on the Dragons this Saturday as part of the triple header at Pirtek Stadium, and speculation is rife that Dragons’ new recruit Benji Marshall will make his debut wearing the Red V. 

“I’m sure whoever turns up to play will do a great job - if Benji is to play, that will be a bonus for them, but we know that 17 players will take the field for them, and we have to be ready to play them,” Hopoate said. 

“[Benji] seems like a natural ball player, and wasn’t too far away from footy in general, so he’ll still have had the ball in his hands playing rugby.”

Click here to buy tickets to the game and cheer on the mighty Eels!

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Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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