Mormon NRL star Will Hopoate to play on Sundays
Will Hopoate has made himself available to play NRL games on Sundays, reversing his previous stance to stand down for religious reasons.
The devout Mormon has agreed to a request from his club Canterbury to turn out on Sundays, ahead of a busy State of Origin period which includes three Sunday matches for the Bulldogs.
Hopoate admitted that in a perfect world he wouldn't play on Sundays because of his faith, but he said on Monday he would heed the wishes of his employers, beginning this Sunday against Sydney Roosters.
"We don't live in a perfect world," said Hopoate, who comes off contract this season and had an agreement with Canterbury when he joined them last season that he wouldn't have to play on Sundays.
"We're coming up with a few Sunday games beginning with this week. Coming off the back of injury and me wanting to stay at the club as well.
"They [the club] came from a business decision, and at the end of the day rugby league is a business.
"I understand that and I totally understand where the club is coming from."
Hopoate will still not train on Sundays or partake in any NRL activities other than matches.
He is also negotiating a new contract at the club, and chief executive Raelene Castle said discussions around Sunday matches were part of that.
During his two years at the Parramatta Eels ending in 2015, Hopoate's request for an exemption from games and training sessions on Sundays was denied. The fullback made his stance known to clubs chasing his signature for the 2016 season.
Canterbury and coach Des Hasler agreed to the request - which led to the star fullback missing an elimination final against the Penrith Panthers last season.
Penrith put five tries on the Bulldogs that evening on their way to a 28-12 win, which saw the latter bow out of the competition.
AAP and Fairfax Media