JOHN Hopoate’s battle to coach Manly’s SG Ball side has taken another twist after the former Sea Eagles premiership winner declared he had been given the all clear by the NRL to continue in the role.
Hopoate and the NRL had looked headed to the courts to settle a dispute over whether or not the controversial former winger should be allowed to coach the under 18s side.
On Friday night, Hopoate declared himself “back” with an emphatic Facebook post that completely blindsided the NRL who hit back with a tweet denying it.
“I’m Back, NRL asked if we can withdraw our court proceedings cause they don’t have jurisdiction over SG Ball. So I can coach this week cheeho!!” Hopoate posted.
Following up with the hashtag: “#NoHardFeelingsTimeToMoveOnAndLetThePastBeThePast#”
Foxsports.com.au followed up with Hopoate and he stood by the post, confirming that the NRL had asked him to end the court battle.
John Hopoate is up for a fight to coach Manly’s SG Ball team.Source: News Limited
But the NRL quickly denied it had cleared Hopoate to coach, tweeting from its NRL Media account: “The NRL has NOT cleared John Hopoate to coach Manly’s SG Ball side.”
The NRL then sent foxsports.com.au the following statement: “He is not registered to coach. Mr Hopoate has taken the matter to the Supreme Court. The NRL is contesting his case and has not changed its stance at all.”
A legal challenge was mounted by Hopoate when the NRL claimed the former international is not of fit and proper character to mentor young and impressionable men, threatening the Sea Eagles with a breach notice if they didn’t stand Hopoate down.
In his affidavit, Hopoate said: “Out of respect for the club, I have voluntarily stood down from coaching SG Ball as the Manly Sea Eagles have been threatened with a breach notice attracting enormous fines and threatening loss of points to the club.”
Hopoate and his legal team maintain the NRL has no jurisdiction over the SG Ball competition as it is run by the NSWRL, which has approved Hopoate’s application to coach.