The capacity of some rugby league officials to grab
defeat from the jaws of victory never ceases to amaze me. This time it’s the Manly Sea Eagles, a group of
unnamed players and apparently even some officials and the club
sponsor.

When John Hopoate was rightly rubbed out for 17 weeks
early in the season – and had his contract torn up before being de-registered – I
was confident we’d heard the last of rugby league’s worst serial offender and
all round pest. But last month stories started appearing that the
players at the Sea Eagles wanted him back, mainly because the team is struggling.

The Sea Eagles contacted the NRL about re-registering Hopoate so he could start playing again
THIS season – which led to inevitable re-runs on TV sports news bulletins of Hopoate’s finger
antics and his disgraceful hit on Keith Galloway that got him the 17
weeks.

And, worryingly, it appeared the NRL was – even if
reluctantly – prepared to re-register Hopoate so he could resume playing this
year.

The Sea Eagles and the NRL need to put a stop to this
nonsense now. And if the Daily Telegraph is right, the Sea Eagles will do so
today. But the issue should never have arisen in the
first place. And those responsible for doing so have done rugby league a
disservice.

Peter Fray

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