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Bulldogs Skipper James Graham has today discussed Will Hopoate’s decision to not play on Sunday and what it means for himself and his fellow teammates.

Below is a wrap of James Graham’s media conference today.

What’s the mood like around the camp with Will’s decision?

“Everyone’s alright and it’s only Greg Eastwood that is annoyed because he didn’t think of it first.

“Will’s a man of faith and he is well within his right to make this decision.

“He’s made this decision when he was negotiating to come here, so it’s not like it’s shocked anybody.

“I’m 100% behind Will and his decision to do this.”

Isn’t it always team first and not individual?

“Some people would look at it like that, but Will’s religion comes first.”

“To walk away from the game for two years and walk away from millions of dollars, he’s advertised there just how much this means to him.

“To make the decision to not to play Sunday, I totally respect that and I don’t think anyone could argue with him.

“It’s quite an incredible thing to do when you consider how important and how much is made of sport and the NRL and for him to turn around and say my religion comes first, is a credit to the person he is.”

Does Will not playing leaving a big hole?

“Will’s a quality player.

“He has been our players’ player for two of the first four weeks.

“We know how important he is, but injuries happen, suspensions happen and it’s just something that we’re aware of.

“Des and his staff have these plans in place for injuries, suspensions and I’m sure they would have had a plan in place for Will.”

Do you think he will play a Grand Final?

“No. I don’t.

“I guess if he changes his mind that would be great, but as far as I’m concerned, I don’t think he’ll play.”


Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.