Hopoate has still got it

Mas­sive week for the Le­gends of League

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT - Dane Lillingstone dane.lillingstone@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

HE PLAYED more than 200 NRL games and rep­re­sented New South Wales and Aus­tralia and now he’s com­ing to the Whit­sun­days to play as part of the Aus­tralian All Stars.

John Hopoate will line up as part of the Le­gends of League match in Bowen next week and he has one mes­sage for the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity – en­joy it.

“It’s get­ting the com­mu­nity to­gether,” he said. “The whole rea­son we come and do this is about bring­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether (to) watch us play.”

Hopoate has been in­volved in the Le­gends of League games since 2006. They play ex­hi­bi­tion matches across re­gional Aus­tralian ar­eas with the aim of giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

“They ap­proached me to get in­volved at the time and I couldn’t be more happy to say yes and meet up with guys you played against or guys you watched play,” he said. “All the play­ers love that kind of stuff – giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity, go­ing to coun­try towns, putting smiles on kids faces and giv­ing peo­ple the chance to see us that never got to see us play.”

Don’t ex­pect the for­mer rep­re­sen­ta­tive winger and heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion to be a slouch on the field ei­ther as he still trains five days a week.

“Get down there early, bring your fam­ily and bring your friends and en­joy the day,” Hopoate said.

The Le­gends of League will be a free event in Bowen on Satur­day, May 20, with the Aus­tralian All Stars play­ing the Whit­sun­day All Stars as well as the Brah­mans A-grade match and a stack of other re­gional matches.

League le­gends in­clud­ing Petero Civon­iceva and Scott Prince will visit schools on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day next week, hold a meet and greet at the Whit­sun­day Plaza, and there will be a spe­cial bowls day and cock­tail func­tion next Fri­day.

Tick­ets for the cock­tail func­tion at Club Croc on Fri­day, May 19, can be pur­chased at their re­cep­tion or by email­ing clubcroc. conf@mantra.com.au. There are also plans for a free re­turn bus to Bowen on game day. Con­tact le­gends ofleague@live.com.au.

PHOTO: ROB WIL­LIAMS

READY: Le­gends of League player John Hopoate has been in­volved for more than 10 years.

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