NRL brings Hopoate case forward

The NRL has decided to bring forward Manly winger John Hopoate's judiciary appearance following a request by the club. His case will now be heard tonight, whilst all other hearings will take place as usual on Wednesday night.

Jim Hall, the former judiciary chairman who stood down at the end of last year, has come out and predicted Hopoate could be facing up to 20 weeks on the sidelines. This isn't particularly outlandish, given the severity of his hit on Cronulla's Keith Galloway, coupled with the already appalling record the Sea Eagles winger has.

In fact the general consensus in league is that 20 weeks would be a minimum for this kind of behaviour from a repeat offender. Manly seem to think otherwise, embarking on a mission to have him exonerated, or at least give him a chance to play again.

The club has hired the services of Alan Sullivan QC to defend Hopoate in what seems to be an exercise in how to burn money. Given the club's activities throughout Super League and the fact they sold half of the club last season to fund their very existence, you would assume they might be sick of watching money walk out the door, particularly when it's such an open and shut case.

If that grub does go for 20 weeks, and let's hope he does, is would overtake the 18-match spell served to former Melbourne Storm player Danny Williams as the heaviest suspension in the NRL's history, dating back to 1998.

Of course, Bob Cooper of Western Suburbs holds the record along with Les Boyd of Manly, who were both outed for 15 months in the early 80's.