WE’RE only three rounds in, but already the Manly Sea Eagles look to have a recipe for success for the rest of the 2011 NRL season.
Mele Hopoate distributes her magic watermelon drink to the players after a training session at Narrabeen. Photo - Braden Fastier.
While Adam Sandler may have given his football side that extra lift with his special water in The Water Boy, the Sea Eagles have their own magic potion - the “Hoppa Drink”.
Designed by John Hopoate’s mother Mele, the drink was a regular feature during Hopoate’s playing days with the Sea Eagles and has made a welcome return to team training sessions now that grandson Will is a regular fixture in the side.
But like all things special, the drink is only available to the players for special occasions.
For the Sea Eagles, that means winning games.
“I came down for a Christmas training session last year and let the boys have some but I told them that the next time they would be allowed some was after a win,” Mrs Hopoate said.
“I don’t do it for a loss…having this drink is like a reward.”
Mrs Hopoate, who spends two hours mixing the Hoppa Drink - made up of watermelons, pineapples and coconut - has promised the players she will make the trek from her home in Campbelltown to the team’s Narrabeen-based training sessions to deliver the drink each time the team wins.
Five-eighth Kieran Foran picked up man-of-the-match honours for Manly in last week’s 26-12 win over Newcastle, and received a jug of the drink after the game for his efforts.
He didn’t need a second taste-tester to question whether it will have an influence on the side’s season.
“It’s sensational, it’s very tasty,” he said.
“I think it could be the secret ingredient to the Sea Eagles’ success for the season.”
Will, who is currently playing in the centres, didn’t endorse his teammate’s belief that the Hoppa Drink improves his skills on the field but admits it’s a good motivator to win.
“All the boys really like it,” he said.
“It’s pretty good incentive to win but no, I don’t think it affects my performance.”