3 hours ago
Hoppa in the firing line again
Rugby league's bad boy John Hopoate will have a week to respond to allegations that he threatened and abused junior match officials while acting as waterboy during his son's under-13 rugby league match.
Hopoate could be banned from all rugby league sidelines after he was banished from the field by a referee for allegedly using abusive language and challenging a touch judge to meet him after the match.
The NSWRL received reports from the referee and touch judge involved in the semi-final between Manly Cove and the Western City Tigers in the Coca-Cola Cup, which have been passed onto Hopoate via the Manly junior rugby league.
NSWRL chief executive Geoff Carr said Hopoate would have an opportunity to respond to the claims before next Wednesday's NSWRL board meeting.
"The process is we have got a report from the touch judge and referee that were in control of those games," Carr said.
"We have now written to the Manly junior rugby league and we've asked them to pass onto the club and Hopoate the reports from the touch judge and referee.
"The club and Hopoate have an opportunity to respond to those and the board of the NSWRL will meet next Tuesday, which will be an opportune time because it allows Hopoate and his club to answer any allegations."
Darren Morrisby, coach of the Tigers U-13 team, said the former Manly winger's behaviour was totally inappropriate.
"(He was) swearing at them, giving them a bit of a bagging for decisions he thought was against him," Morrisby told the League Correspondent.
"There's no need for that, not when you've got the kids."
Carr refused to speculate what penalty Hopoate faced if found guilty.
"No-one is guilty until it is proven. Hopoate and his junior league, if they wish, will have an opportunity to reply to those allegations in the reports," he said.
"We have got to work through a process and we can't preempt it.
"He doesn't have to front (the board meeting), he has the opportunity to do what he likes ... he can send a written reply back, or he cannot get involved at all, it's up to him."
It's been a tumultuous year for Hopoate, who has switched to boxing after his NRL career ended after copping a 17-week suspension for striking Sharks forward Keith Galloway.
He was also in strife for abusing a ballboy during a game against the New Zealand Warriors in March, but avoided suspension.