Hopoate handed 10-year ban from NSWRL

Ex-NRL player John Hopoate has been issued with another lengthy ban from rugby league having been handed a 10-year suspension for punching and verbally abusing an opponent.

The NSWRL has given 44-year-old Hopoate a decade-long ban, with half of that charge suspended, following his sending off when playing for the Narraweena Hawks last month.

Having initially been penalised for a high tackle, Hopoate was then sent off for punching an opponent in the ensuing melee before unleashing a foul-mouthed tirade, which led to the NSWRL banning him for three code of conduct charges.

Hopoate, who claimed to the conduct review panel that he was racially abused, is the most suspended player in NRL history having been given a total of 45 weeks of bans.

As well as representing Australia and Tonga, Hopoate made 209 first-grade appearances for Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, Northern Eagles and Wests Tigers.

Chief executive David Trodden told the NSWRL's official website: "Every governing body has an obligation to the participants who play our game to ensure they can play in a safe and enjoyable environment.

"Incidents like these, which challenge that safe and enjoyable environment and damage the reputation of our sport, have no place in our game and must be dealt with appropriately to protect our game and the vast majority of participants who respect its rules."

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