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NSW coach Ricky Stuart names William Hopoate in Blues side

Discussion in 'Sea Eagles' started by Rusty, Jun 5, 2011.

By Rusty on Jun 5, 2011 at 7:19 PM
  1. Rusty

    Rusty Well-Known Member

    +45 /0
    Manly 19-year-old winger William Hopoate was a shock call-up and part of five changes made by New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart to the Blues side to play Queensland in State of Origin II at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.

    Hopoate, who only turned 19 last month, replaces the injured Michael Jennings in the centres, having only played 14 NRL first grade games since debuting in round 13 last year.
    NSW coach Stuart had initially hoped to stick with the same 17-man squad that suffered a gallant 16-12 loss to Queensland in the series opener in Brisbane 11 days ago.
    But injuries forced his hand and Stuart on Sunday made five changes, including two in the starting line-up, with Paul Gallen moving from lock to prop to accommodate the inclusion of Sea Eagles forward Anthony Watmough.
    Along with Hopoate, Parramatta superstar Jarryd Hayne won a recall, replacing injured St George Illawarra winger Brett Morris.
    Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley, Manly backrower Watmough and Penrith utility Luke Lewis are the three new faces on the bench.
    Stuart may have to make one more change with Canberra's Josh Dugan in doubt after he left the field with an ankle injury in the first half of his side's NRL loss to North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday.
    He said he had selected Dugan with the intent of giving him every chance to prove his fitness, with the Raiders fullback to get scans on Monday.
    When asked by Fox Sports commentator Russell Fairfax if the decision to select debutant Hopoate, the son of former NSW and Australia Test winger John Hopoate, was a tough call, Stuart replied: "No, not really.
    "He's been very strong for Manly; he's used to playing on the left edge.
    "He gives me comfort knowing the fact that he's a left-edge player."
    Hopoate will leave the NRL for religion in 2012 as he embarks on a Mormon mission for the next two years, a decision Stuart said had no weight on the young star's selection.
    "It's not really my business to be concerned about what he's doing with his religion," the NSW coach said.
    The Blues coach also revealed he had been thinking about moving Gallen from lock to prop since he took over as NSW coach last year.
    "He plays like a front rower and he gives me the opportunity to bring another backrower with quality in.
    "And that's Anthony Watmough in regards to the form he's shown over the season.
    "Paul's style of game won't change.
    "I'm comfortable with the decision and I wouldn't have done it if Paul wasn't comfortable either."


Discussion in 'Sea Eagles' started by Rusty, Jun 5, 2011.

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