John Hopoate charged with supermarket assault

John Hopoate pursued a boxing career when his NRL days finished. Photo / Getty Images
John Hopoate pursued a boxing career when his NRL days finished. Photo / Getty Images

Former NRL player John Hopoate has been charged with assaulting a supermarket employee in North Sydney.

A NSW Police statement says a 42-year-old man allegedly became involved in a verbal argument with an employee at a Crows Nest supermarket on Tuesday, which turned physical with staff having to intervene, reported.

The man, named by News Corp as c and granted conditional bail ahead of an expected court appearance on June 17.

It's the latest indiscretion in a long line of incidents for the ex-Manly and Wests Tigers outside back.

He's currently embroiled in a dispute with the NRL over a coaching position with Manly's SG Ball (Under-18s) side. Manly appointed him coach for the 2016 season, but the NRL refused to register his contract to be in charge of the team.

The NRL claimed they had information from NSW police suggesting he was not a suitable character to mentor young players, after which he reportedly pursued legal action against the sport's governing body in the Supreme Court.

Hopoate was a coaching consultant for Tonga in their recent test match against Samoa when a fan was ejected from the ground for throwing a beer at him. He was on the sideline when the fan hurled abuse in his direction, before he returned fire, prompting the supporter to throw his drink.

Hopoate courted controversy throughout a 13-year, 209-game first grade career, during which he represented Australia, NSW and Tonga. He was finally outed from rugby league after he copped a 17-match ban for a tackle on Keith Galloway in 2005. That came after a 12-match ban in 2001 for poking opposition players up the backside.

All up, Hopoate served 45 weeks on the sideline, making him the most suspended player in league history.

Last year Hopoate's conduct was the subject of a Junior Manly Rugby League investigation after allegedly abusing the referee of an Under-10s fixture.

In 2010 Hopoate was charged with occasioning actual bodily harm and affray following an incident at the Trademark Hotel in Sydney's King Cross, where he was employed. He was not licensed to work as a security guard when he allegedly chased and bashed a 27-year-old man who was refused entry into the popular venue, but was reportedly working as an RSA (responsible service of alcohol) marshal.

In 2013 the father of Bulldogs fullback Will Hopoate was fined $400 for threatening Sydney parking officer Anthony Bugge while he was writing him a ticket for illegally parking his silver BMW in Potts Point.

Bugge alleged that Hopoate said: "Go ahead you little f*****. Touch my car and you'll f****** cop it."

He pursued a boxing career when his rugby league days finished, fighting his first professional bout in 2006.

-, AAP


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