Dyldam Parramatta Eels fullback Will Hopoate is looking forward to the challenge of filling the number one jersey in 2015 and the young footballer is excited about being able to showcase his skills on Friday night when the Eels take on the Manly Sea Eagles to kick off their 2015 NRL campaign.
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However, the 22 year old has had a different approach to training this week, after he spent the weekend in Brisbane getting married.
Yet despite reaching a major milestone in his life, Hopoate is still focused on the Eels blockbuster season-opener.
“It’s been a busy couple of days, exciting couple of days at the same time.” Hopoate said of his wedding.
“There was family and friends there and it was a very memorable day for the Mrs and I and we’re grateful and I’m excited to get stuck in this Friday” Hopoate said.
“It was a memorable day for the both of us and I’m sure something we will always remember.”
Hopoate will be attacking the season with plenty of enthusiasm and vigour, ready to take on his new role in the Eels backline.
“There are new roles and responsibilities to that of a fullback but I’m excited for the challenges” Hopoate said.
“I know it won’t be easy but I’m grateful to have 16 other blokes there beside me to help me out.”
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Hopoate has spent a chunk of his rugby league career in first grade playing in the centres, however the fullback position is one he played during the majority of his junior career, and he is aware of the challenging aspects to his new role.
“It’s obviously been a challenge, there’s more running and more lateral movement in the fullback position but I played there most of my juniors so it’s not something completely new,” Hopoate said.
“There is just reminding of the things that I was doing before and extra tips from Brad and the staff,” he added.
As part of Hopoate’s shift to fullback, he knows he has a greater responsibility to be more vocal, something his fellow teammates have noted during the pre-season.
“With fullback, I think that’s a big responsibility, a lot of talk, especially in defence, you know guiding the boys around the park,” Hopoate said.
“I see that as something I needed to improve on and hopefully it’s paying off,” he said.
However, being vocal has come naturally to Hopoate, something he had to do during his time away on his Mission.
“For the two years that’s what we done, pretty much everyday was talking and so that skill has definitely rolled off into me playing now and especially needed for that of a fullback.”
With the Eels ready to host the Sea Eagles on Friday night, Hopoate is looking forward to clashing with his former team and hopes that the Blue and Gold army will be in force.
“There’s always that great spark Parramatta Manly, Round 1 Friday night. It’s a great event and I’m sure us and them are excited and ready to go as are the fans,” Hopoate said.
“Hopefully it’s a packed house Friday night!” he added.
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The Eels will kick off their season against the Sea Eagles on Friday (6 March 2015) night, with kick-off at 7:45pm.
Tickets to the match are on sale and we encourage all Blue and Gold Members and fans to purchase them early so you don’t miss out on the Eels season opener.
Tickets are also offered at a discounted rate when you pre-purchase! Buy your tickets now via Ticketmaster.