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Sacked Hopoate 'repentant'
13:30 AEST Sun Dec 23 2012

Jamil Hopoate is training hard and praying he'll get a second chance after being sacked by the Parramatta Eels over his off-field behaviour.

Two weeks ago, Eels management ended the 18-year-old's contract after he ignored officials' instructions and went to a friend's 21st birthday in Kings Cross instead of staying at the annual NRL rookie camp.

While there were rumours his older brother William would leave his $1.8m contract with the Eels in protest over the sacking, Jamil said there was "no way" he would want him to do that.

William Hopoate is currently doing Mormon missionary work in Queensland and has signed with Parramatta for 2014.

"Obviously he's getting some big coin at Parra and he has to help the family out," he told Fairfax Media.

"My parents are struggling and he's going to massively help the family (which includes 10 children)."

Jamil had also made headlines after he was caught "planking" on a shop awning and lost his licence for six months because of mid-range drink-driving.

The rising star said he hit "rock bottom" after his Parramatta contract was torn up and he knew he faced an uphill battle to pursue a career in rugby league.

"I am praying I'll be picked up because footy is my life, it's all I kind of have," he said.

"I left school in year 11 to concentrate on rugby league, so I don't know what I'll do if I don't get picked up … didn't go too well at school … probably end up in the factory."

His father John, who was known for his bad behaviour while playing for Manly and Wests Tigers, said he had taught his children not to follow his example.

"I hammered them and William hasn't gotten into any trouble so far," he said.

"Jamil has accepted his being sacked wasn't Parramatta's fault, it was his.

"Whilst the stuff I did was much worse than what he's done, he needs to realise it's a different era."

Source: Fairfax Media


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