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Hopoate's 'hand of God' helps to put Sea Eagles over the line

Date

Michael Chammas

Manly Sea Eagle George Rose shows the NRL Premiership trophy to the Manly fans at the Manly Leagues Club after defeating the New Zealand Warriors in the 2011 Grand Final.
 2nd October 2011
 Photo: Janie Barrett Click for more photos

NRL Grand Final Day

Rugby League action, fans and fun from the 2011 NRL Grand Final day at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Janie Barrett

IN HIS final game of rugby league before a two-year hiatus, Manly winger Will Hopoate produced a magical play. In the opposite corner to the one he scored a brilliant try for NSW in his State of Origin debut earlier this year, Hopoate showed off his wide array of skills with an incredible flick pass to send Glenn Stewart over in the 57th minute.

Team-mate Anthony Watmough described it as ''freakish'', but Hopoate, who is about to embark on a two-year Mormon mission, was far more humble about the pass that gave the Sea Eagles an insurmountable lead in the premiership decider.

''I was trying to go to the corner and I wasn't going to make it so I flicked it back infield,'' Hopoate said. ''It was pretty much a fluke. I was just lucky it ended up in Glenn's hands.''

Hopoate is sure to come into calculations for Australia's Four Nations squad, which is announced this morning, but while Watmough has thrown his support behind Hopoate to make his international debut, the 19-year-old isn't so sure. ''I'd love to go,'' Hopoate said. ''But in saying that, I don't think I'll be picked with the wingers around these days. But I'll be thankful for the break as well.''

Watmough was ecstatic after claiming his second title yesterday, but the Manly back-rower was disappointed the Sea Eagles would be without their star winger in 2012. The NSW and Australian forward said Hopoate was inspirational against the Warriors at ANZ Stadium and would be sorely missed over the next two years.

''He's a freak,'' Watmough said. ''He was my man of the match. I don't how he does it because it was just freakish. We'll definitely miss him. Some of the stuff he does, no one can do. That try in Origin … and he was unlucky not to score a freakish one again there today.''

While his Sea Eagles teammates were slamming down beers after their 24-10 triumph, Hopoate, who doesn't drink alcohol because of his religious beliefs, was expressing his joy while downing a bottle of Powerade.

He described the victory as the perfect send off and the ideal memory to take with him on his next journey.

''It's unbelievable, words can't express how I feel at the moment,'' he said. ''I'm just going to live it up for what it is. It's the best possible way to go out. For everything that's happened to me this season, I'm very grateful. Running out there and seeing the crowd was unbelievable and it's something I'll remember not just while I'm away, but forever. Now I've got the ring to remember it by.''

After Hopoate's heroics sent Stewart over untouched, the Warriors sparked into gear and looked like making a late surge at the title.

Despite the Warriors scoring the next two tries to reduce the margin to eight points, Watmough insists losing was never an option. ''I knew we were never going to lose. I'm not being a w---er about it or a bighead, I just knew the boys had it in them. I knew whatever they threw at us we were going to repel.''

Related Coverage

NRL Grand Final 2011 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v  Warriors at ANZ Stadium. Glenn and Brett Stewart celebrate winning the 2011 Telstra Premiership. Sunday October 2nd 2011. NRL Grand Final Day

Rugby League action, fans and fun from the 2011 NRL Grand Final day at ANZ Stadium.

Perfect timing for Manly as youngsters lead way

JUST as coach Des Hasler had hoped, the Sea Eagles flew under the radar in the opening two months of the season. But by the time State of Origin rolled around, there was nothing inconspicuous about them.

Silvertails and gold: Sea Eagles soar to new heights

THEY have long been a team we love to hate but it is difficult not to admire Manly. For long many have questioned the anger they have shown towards the establishment, but they cannot ever be accused of not being able to channel it where it counts.

Battered Lyon sends clear message to Kangaroos selectors: 'I don't want to play rep footy again'

JAMIE LYON would be a certain selection in the Australian squad for the Four Nations tournament if he wanted to be included, but the Manly centre and captain is adamant his representative days are over.

Hopoate gives Warriors the flick as Stewart chips in with his own freak play

SIX years ago an audacious flick pass from one of the game's young stars lit up the grand final at ANZ Stadium. Last night, it happened all over again.

Aucklanders curse poor call on try that changed game

WARRIORS hooker Aaron Heremaia doesn't recall a lot about the controversial calls of the first half - which he was at the centre of. And he is unlikely to firm an opinion soon, given his desire never to watch last night's grand final again. But he was convinced he was obstructed in the lead-up to Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans's crucial try with six seconds remaining in the first half.

It's time to move on, but brothers are coy on Gallop exchanges

AFTER exchanging words with NRL chief executive David Gallop as the pair shook hands on stage during the grand final presentation, Manly fullback Brett Stewart last night declared: ''It's time to move on.''

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Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6 vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42 vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
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NEW 24 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18 vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4 vs SYD 28 Report Stats
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PEN 24 vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20 vs CBR 24 Report Stats
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CBY 32 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
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MAN 24 vs MEL 22 Stats
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SOU 34 vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6 vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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CBR 20 vs STG 22 Report Stats
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CRO 22 vs GCT 24 Report Stats
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SYD 34 vs CBR 6 Report Stats
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CBY 17 vs SOU 18 Report Stats
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MAN 16 vs CBR 29 Report Stats
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PAR 6 vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30 vs NZW 14 Report Stats
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CRO 22 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
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PAR 16 vs GCT 38 Report Stats
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CBR 10 vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31 vs CBY 6 Report Stats
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SOU 12 vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 7
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CBY 28 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12 vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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GCT 32 vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28 vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17 vs SYD 16 Report Stats
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WST 22 vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22 vs PAR 28 Report Stats
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CRO 18 vs SOU 10 Stats
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Round 8
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CBY 14 vs WST 38 Stats
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NZW 28 vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24 vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10 vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28 vs PAR 16 Stats
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PEN 26 vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22 vs CBR 30 Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8 vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36 vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56 vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16 vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23 vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30 vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10 vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16 vs STG 10 Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10 vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31 vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13 vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22 vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16 vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32 vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22 vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10 vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14 vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34 vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18 vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN vs PAR 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT vs SOU 15:00Cbus Super Stadium
CBR vs BRI 17:30GIO Stadium
NQL vs MAN 19:301300 Smiles Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NEW 14:00MSS
STG vs CRO 16:00Jubilee Oval
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 19:00AS
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Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MAN 19:35SUN
WST vs GCT 19:35VAS
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CBR 15:00HS
SOU vs NZW 17:30nib Stadium
PEN vs MEL 19:30Pepper Stadium
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO vs SYD 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs STG 16:00ANZ
PAR vs NQL 19:00Pirtek Stadium
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Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST vs SOU 19:45ANZ
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs SYD 18:00MSS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT vs CBY 16:00Cbus Super Stadium
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs PAR 19:00AAMI
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Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN vs WST 19:45BO
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NQL 15:00GIO Stadium
GCT vs NZW 17:30Cbus Super Stadium
CBY vs PEN 19:30ANZ
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW vs CRO 14:00HS
MEL vs BRI 16:00AAMI
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG vs SYD 19:00AS
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:35SUN
SOU vs MAN 19:35ANZ
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CBR 15:00MSS
NQL vs CRO 17:301300 Smiles Stadium
PAR vs STG 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs GCT 14:00AS
WST vs PEN 16:00VAS
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY vs MEL 19:00Belmore Sports Ground
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SOU 19:45Pepper Stadium
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG vs NQL 19:30WIN
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs CRO 16:00BO
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST vs PAR 19:00ANZ
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs NEW 19:45GIO Stadium
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs SYD 17:30Pepper Stadium
CBY vs BRI 19:30ANZ
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MEL 14:00MSS
CRO vs STG 16:00Remondis Stadium
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT vs MAN 19:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CBY 19:35ANZ
MEL vs PEN 19:35AAMI
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR vs CRO 15:00GIO Stadium
NEW vs GCT 17:30HS
STG vs SOU 19:30SCG
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NZW 14:00AS
BRI vs WST 16:00SUN
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN vs NQL 19:00BO
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Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI vs GCT 19:35SUN
WST vs SYD 19:35ANZ
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs MAN 15:00MSS
SOU vs NEW 17:30ANZ
MEL vs STG 19:30AAMI
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN vs CBR 14:00Pepper Stadium
CBY vs CRO 16:00Belmore Sports Ground
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs PAR 19:001300 Smiles Stadium
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Round 21
Thu, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW vs CRO 22:00MSS
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL vs CBR 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs NEW 00:00Jubilee Oval
SOU vs PEN 00:00ANZ
SYD vs CBY 00:00AS
MAN vs BRI 00:00TBA
WST vs MEL 00:00VAS
GCT vs PAR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 22
Thu, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs STG 22:00MSS
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CBY 00:00SUN
NEW vs SYD 00:00HS
CBR vs WST 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SOU 00:00BO
CRO vs NQL 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs GCT 00:00AAMI
PAR vs PEN 00:30TIO
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Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STG 00:00SUN
CBY vs GCT 00:00TBA
NQL vs SOU 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
PEN vs NZW 00:00Pepper Stadium
CBR vs MAN 00:00GIO Stadium
SYD vs PAR 00:00AS
CRO vs MEL 00:00Remondis Stadium
WST vs NEW 00:00CSS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Wed, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW vs NQL 22:00MSS
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG vs PEN 00:00WIN
SOU vs CBY 00:00ANZ
SYD vs BRI 00:00AS
MAN vs PAR 00:00BO
CRO vs WST 00:00Remondis Stadium
MEL vs NEW 00:00AAMI
GCT vs CBR 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR vs CRO 00:00Pirtek Stadium
NEW vs CBY 00:00HS
SOU vs BRI 00:00AS
CBR vs PEN 00:00GIO Stadium
MAN vs SYD 00:00BO
MEL vs NQL 00:00AAMI
WST vs NZW 00:00CSS
GCT vs STG 00:00Cbus Super Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI vs MEL 00:00SUN
CBY vs NZW 00:00ANZ
NQL vs GCT 00:001300 Smiles Stadium
STG vs WST 00:00ANZ
PAR vs CBR 00:00Pirtek Stadium
PEN vs NEW 00:00Pepper Stadium
SYD vs SOU 00:00AS
CRO vs MAN 00:00Remondis Stadium
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Team P W L D Pts
Melbourne Storm 10 7 3 0 16
Brisbane Broncos 11 8 3 0 16
St George-Illawarra Dragons 10 7 3 0 16
North Queensland Cowboys 11 8 3 0 16
Sydney Roosters 10 5 5 0 12
South Sydney Rabbitohs 11 6 5 0 12
Warriors 10 5 5 0 12
Penrith Panthers 10 5 5 0 12
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