Sundays off in Hopoate’s ‘perfect world’
If he lived in a "perfect world", Canterbury fullback Will Hopoate would again stand down from playing Sunday games through his religious beliefs, as he did throughout 2016.
Hopoate remains deeply religious and attends church each Sunday morning before NRL games.
Yet while continuing to ponder withdrawing from Sunday games, the former NSW wingers admitted Canterbury "pay" his bills.
And while the Bulldogs only have three Sunday games in 2020, Canterbury want and need Hopoate for all of them.
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"In a perfect world I'd take that option to not play on Sunday," Hopoate said at a Canterbury media day at Belmore Sports Ground.
"But Canterbury is my employer and there is commonsense in everything you do.
It is what it is. They pay me so I can provide for my family and I've got to do what they say and play on Sundays.
"It's something I'd love to do (not play Sundays). It's something I'd love to do from the beginning of my career to the end of my career. But that's the world we live in and reality is (games are played Sundays)."
The Bulldogs' first Sunday game is against Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium in round three, and then they don't have one until their round 23 Bankwest Stadium clash with Penrith, before rounding out the season away to Newcastle in round 25.
"Spiritually I felt good (not playing Sundays) but I'm still deeply religious and practice my faith where I can. I still attend church the morning of games if we play Sunday. I just make things work."
Bulldogs officials said Hopoate did not mention the possibility of standing down for Sunday matches during recent contract talks.
While remaining religious to his church, Hopoate did not want to comment on Israel Folau's sacking from rugby union through a religious post on social media.
"I'd rather not comment on that, if that's all right," he said. "I'll just leave it how it is.
I don't want to say something that might put me in trouble."
Hopoate, 27, signed a new deal last month keeping him at Belmore until the end of 2021.