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Matured Hopoate ready to roll: Arthur

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says Will Hopoate's two years away from rugby league haven't necessarily hampered his development.
Matured Hopoate ready to roll: Arthur
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Jan 25 AAP - Parramatta coach Brad Arthur says Will Hopoate's two years away from rugby league haven't necessarily hampered his development.

When Hopoate left the NRL at the end of the 2011 season to embark on a two-year Mormon mission, he did so as a NSW State of Origin star and a Manly premiership winner.

He returns this season to the club that has easily been the worst performed in his time away, matured and giving himself every chance to come back as the game breaker he was when he left, according to Arthur.

"He is the ultimate professional," Arthur said.

"He is the first here at training, he is the last to leave ... He is the first in the gym, the last to leave the gym. He is always in there doing extra video ...

"He will give himself every opportunity to come back strongly. He will take a little bit of time but he has put on five or six kilograms so he is going really well.

"I wouldn't say he is back to full fitness. He has been out of the game for two years so that will take some time."

Parramatta great Nathan Hindmarsh has pleaded with Eels fans to show patience with Hopoate, and Arthur concedes how the 21-year-old will fare early on in his comeback is an unknown.

"It's hard to say exactly where he is until we play, but he is giving himself every opportunity," Arthur said.

"In his time away he has probably matured as a person and he has got a lot more direction.

"He knows exactly what he wants and that is evident with his actions around the place."


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