SEA Eagles junior official Dave Warwick has expressed concerns over the safety of Manly teenager Jamil Hopoate playing club rugby for the Marlins alongside his famous dad.
Jamil Hopoate takes time out with his family
And Jamil playing for the Sea Eagles.
Jamil, 15, and his dad John played fourth grade for the Marlins against Gordon at Manly Oval on Saturday morning. Hopoate senior was sin-binned in the game for throwing a ball at a rival player.
Young Jamil, a member of the Sea Eagles’ Harold Matthews (under-16s) squad, also had a brief 15-minute run for the Marlins. It is believed the teenager’s appearance will be a one-off.
Jamil is not contracted to the Sea Eagles and can play any code he wants. John Hopoate had already approached Warwick about allowing his son to play in Cromer’s A2 rugby league team, a request that was denied.
But Warwick told The Manly Daily he is concerned for Jamil’s safety, fearing a lack of proper officiating in club rugby could result in an injury for the teenager if he plays again.
“I’m all for him playing with his Dad, but I hope he’s looked after because we’ve got high hopes for him,” the Sea Eagles junior coaching and development manager said.
“He asked me if Jamil could play in his Cromer A2 side ... I said ‘No, he’s just too young’. Sixteeen-year-olds are not allowed to play in the grade comp in the Manly Warringah Junior League - it’s a great rule, it’s just for protecting kids. You don’t need some old 35-year-old coming across and doing a cheap shot on the kid.”
Marlins head coach Phil Blake, who Hopoate contacted to get a run with the Marlins, said he believed Jamil’s appearance on the wing was a one-off.
“I think it was one of those last-minute things ... he went fine, but I think it was a bit of a one-off,” Blake said.
Hopoate, who is still boxing, said he loved playing next to his son. “It shows I’m not too old yet to still be able to play with 15-year-olds,” the 36-year-old said.
The former Australian heavyweight boxing champion said there was nothing in his 10-minute spell in the sin-bin.
“The whistle had gone but then one of their guys threw one of our players on the ground so I just threw the ball at him,” Hopoate said. “I don’t think the fire will ever go away.”