Former NRL bad boyJohn Hopoate has been accused of playing a “mentoring role” in an incident that resulted in the suspension of a Victorian netballer.
The Warrnambool Standard reported that a South West District Netball League player was accused of sticking her finger up an opponent’s skirt several times and making inappropriate contact with her backside and crotch area in a Round 12 fixture earlier this month.
ThePublicApology understands that Hopoate had taken on a $15,000 a year position as ‘forwards coach’ for the unnamed Victorian team. He was headhunted for his unorthodox methods in unsettling players, but the move appears to have backfired. The former Manly player is now believed to be in hiding in country Victoria.
An SWDNL official told ThePublicApology that the specific nature of the incident “rang a few alarm bells.”
“We thought it was a bit strange, so we made a few phone calls and found out that ‘Hoppa’ had been doing a bit of freelance netball coaching,” she said.
“Call me old fashioned, but I won’t tolerate digital penetration in our league. Fingering might be acceptable in the NRL, but not in the SWDNL.”
Hopoate was suspended for several weeks in 2001 for “contrary conduct” after he inserted his finger in the anuses of three North Queensland Cowboys’ players, the first occurring during the seventh minute of play. The three players involved, Glenn Morrison, Peter Jones and Paul Bowman, are still receiving NRL-funded counseling.
Since retiring from the NRL, Hopoate has enjoyed a moderately successful boxing career. He also appeared in three episodes of Australian mockumentary Summer Heights High as the father of troubled teen Jonah Takelua, played by Chris Lilley.
By Dave Edwards