Bulldogs fullback Brett Morris has welcomed his club's recruitment of former Eel and Sea Eagle Will Hopoate, because club mentor Des Hasler – Hopoate's coach in his first two seasons of NRL – will get the best out of him.
Hopoate, who has been training on his own since his time at the Eels came to an end, will have some catching up to do but will be a key player for Canterbury next season, according to Morris.
Hopoate debuted under Hasler at Manly in 2010, playing three games. In 2011 he played a full season, made his State of Origin debut and won a grand final, scoring four tries in the finals series.
But after a two-year Mormon mission he returned to the NRL in 2014 with Parramatta and in two seasons since has struggled to recapture his best football, despite adding five more Origin caps to the one he earned in 2011.
Hasler used Hopoate at wing, centre and fullback in 2011 but a return to fullback in 2015 was unsuccessful, with Hopoate tipped to take a centre spot vacated by Tim Lafai in 2016.
Morris described the recruitment of the 23-year-old as "a great signing".
"He's a wonderful young player. You've got to remember that he's still very young. He's played a lot of rep footy, he's played in big games, he's played in finals so he knows what it's all about," Morris told NRL.com at the launch of the 2016 Dick Smith Auckland Nines on Tuesday.
"Des has always brought out the best in Hoppa. He's certainly one of the key players for us moving forward."