Hopoate's 'perfect' Sunday solution
WILL Hopoate has agreed to play Sunday games for the Bulldogs for the rest of the season after the club requested that he turn his back on the strong religious stance that has seen him sit out matches on the Sabbath for the past 12 months.
Hopoate has been in sensational form since returning to the side after a seven week lay-off due to a fractured cheekbone, with Canterbury's board and management deciding the religious exception could no longer be made to one of their best players.
It's a controversial about face sure to raise eyebrows considering Hopoate's current two-year deal was negotiated with the understanding that he would skip Sunday games.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Hopoate admitted he would continue to miss Sunday games "in a perfect world" and left the door open for other NRL clubs to snatch him away from Belmore under that proviso.
However, out of "duty and respect" to the Bulldogs, Hopoate said he would answer his club's SOS and conceded he may be forced to play Sundays for the rest of his career.
"It's just out of respect and duty that I've got to listen to my employers," Hopoate said.
"They're paying me and I'm putting food on the table for my family, so if it was up to me and we lived in a perfect world I wouldn't be playing."
The Bulldogs currently sit eighth on the table and will need to scrap for every point to make the finals this year.
They play three Sunday games in the next eight weeks, including this weekend's clash with the Roosters, and with some of their best players likely to be on Origin duty during that period, Canterbury needed to be "pragmatic".
Hopoate is off contract at the end of this season, with the Bulldogs stating their intention to keep the former NSW Origin star.