Lehi Hopoate

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Sea Eagle 4 Life

Reserve Grader
Lehi reminds me of a bloke we had who went on a mission...
Big brother Will, who had amazing hands and skills, but Lehi is quicker, I think.
Remember that stunning flick pass for Glen Stewart to score that freakish try in the corner vs Warriors in the 2011 GF ?
Also many moments where Will just looked so silky with time on his side and could catch and pass in an instant hitting his team mates every time....that's what Ive seen from Lehi in younger grades and again in NRL vs Storm.
THere's also an inner strength where both look skinny, yet seem hard to put down and can break tackles with a shimmy, fend and timing....yep I see Lehi like a faster Will in terms of footy ability and remember, Will was rated a Premier player in hot demand before leaving the game, but unfortunately he never came back the same.
We only had Will for one year of first grade, but he won a premiership with the Sea Eagles. He was never the same after his 2 years absence. Chased slimy $$ from the Eels.
 

JenEagle

Bencher
I really hope he stays and doesn’t mess up his career. Surely John Hoppa has learnt with will, Jamil and Albert before him what to avoid.

Will could have been anything but that two years sabbatical seemed to stunt his development.
 

Eagle 1

First Grader
I really hope he stays and doesn’t mess up his career. Surely John Hoppa has learnt with will, Jamil and Albert before him what to avoid.

Will could have been anything but that two years sabbatical seemed to stunt his development.
When Hoppa snr was being interviewed in the sheds, he was pretty coy with a lot of questions that Johns was asking him. You just know his brains ticking over thinking wonder what i can get for my youngest at Manly or at another club.
 

bringbackbeaver

Reserve Grader
Got to back him at 1 for a few games to see if the debut was a fluke or if he gets better. Koula also looked good at 1 but we know he can hold his own in the centres . Lehi looks to a fullback through and through . And strong for a 19 yr old
 

maxta

First Grader
Premium Member
I was so confused by the Will Hopoate 3 year Mormon break from footy.
I have my own beliefs but was thinking he had a god given talent on the field and perhaps could send more a message through his footy than door knocks, but in saying that, Jm probably a bit ignorant as to how their religion works
 

Rocky

Bencher
Interesting positional decision to be made if Koula is fit for the next game.

I'm genuinely torn whether to give Koula an extended stint at fullback or just keep Lehi there.

If Koula plays fullback i would rather see Lehi in the centres but I'm guessing Tommy Talau or Garrick wouldn't be shifted to the wing to accommodate that.
 

SeaEagleRock8

Sea Eagle Lach
Premium Member
Tipping Member
Wow he's not even in our NRL squad until 2026 (is that right?) but selected again at fullback, with Koula pushed back to centre, Talau pushed back to wing (and Vaega pushed out).
 

Dion Johnson

Bencher
Premium Member
Tipping Member
Wow he's not even in our NRL squad until 2026 (is that right?) but selected again at fullback, with Koula pushed back to centre, Talau pushed back to wing (and Vaega pushed out).
I was thinking the same thing when he was selected for the Storm game, there is one development player spot open still, maybe they could / have upgraded him there.
 

Carl

Reserve Grader
I was thinking the same thing when he was selected for the Storm game, there is one development player spot open still, maybe they could / have upgraded him there.
Isn't there a mid season cut off beyond which you can select players outside the top 30 and development lists?
 

Dion Johnson

Bencher
Premium Member
Tipping Member
Isn't there a mid season cut off beyond which you can select players outside the top 30 and development lists?
I am uncertain on that one, I do know that we need to have a full 30 man squad by June 30TH.
 

Disco

First Grader
Premium Member
You can select development players from round 11 onwards so we are all good there
 

Dion Johnson

Bencher
Premium Member
Tipping Member
Fox Sports Snippet

TEEN ROOKIE PLAYS HIMSELF INTO MANLY’S NO.1 JERSEY

Sea Eagles speedster Tolu Koula has been named to return from a shoulder injury this week — but not in the position many might’ve expected.

When Tom Trbojevic suffered a hamstring injury in Round 10, coach Anthony Seibold faced a big decision on who would replace his superstar No.1.

Previously it’s been Reuben Garrick that’s shifted to the back, but this time Seibold went all-in on Koula — who has had aspirations of a permanent switch there down the track.

The 21-year-old shone when he stepped into the role in Round 11, finishing with a try assist, three linebreak assists and over 200 running metres.

But then disaster struck when he was ruled out the following week due to an AC joint injury.

That opened the door for 19-year-old Lehi Hopoate to make his NRL debut against the Storm, of all clubs.

Hopoate started the year in New South Wales Cup playing centre before switching to fullback in Round 6 and finding a home there with four tries, three try assists and five linebreaks in six games, while also averaging four tackle busts and 166 running metres per game.

He carried that form into first grade where set up two tries, got two linebreak assists and took 17 runs for 133 metres in Manly’s upset win over Melbourne.

Evidently that performance was enough and Seibold has put his faith in Hopoate until Trbojevic returns in Round 18.

There has been talk though of Trbojevic moving to the centres long-term to ease the stress on his hamstrings. Perhaps, this next month with Hopoate at fullback might influence Seibold’s view on that.
 

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