He won’t don the blue and gold until 2014, but Manly coach Des Hasler

confirmed rising star Will Hopoate had played his final game for the Sea

Eagles ahead of his impending move to NRL rivals Parramatta.


NRL premiership celebrations hit a snag on Tuesday with revelations

Hopoate would join the Eels at the completion of his two-year Mormon


Eels officials could not be contacted to confirm the

two-year deal – rumoured to be worth up to $800,000 a season – but

Hasler admitted the Sea Eagles had missed out on retaining the

19-year-old utility back.

“It was a very tough decision for Will,” Hasler told reporters on Tuesday.

“But I know Will did what was best for him and his family.

“Will is a person of great conviction, shown by him leaving the game for two years to serve his Mormon mission.

“He is also a bloke of sincerity and we wish him every success in his two years out of the game and then at Parramatta.”


of Hopoate’s departure shocked Sea Eagles supporters, particularly

after he expressed excitement at the prospect of returning to the club

once he had finished his religious duties.

“That’s the plan, I

want to come back and play and now I know what this feels like it’ll be a

joy to have it again,” Hopoate said in the aftermath of Manly’s grand

final win on Sunday.

The son of former Test winger John Hopoate

was a star as he progressed through Manly’s junior system, and impressed

with his skill and composure when handed a shock NSW Origin jumper

earlier this year.

While the Eels won’t be able to utilise his

talents for another two seasons, his impending arrival will no doubt

have Parramatta fans salivating at the prospect of him linking up with

Jarryd Hayne and 2012 recruit Chris Sandow.