Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs centre Will Hopoate has been named in the Players’ 13 Dream Team and the NRL Academic Team of the Year at the RLPA Players' Champion Awards.
Hosted annually, the awards honour the game's best players on and off the field, including naming and celebrating the NRL Academic Team of the Year, and the NRL's Indigenous and Pasifika Academic Award winners.
Named in the centre’s alongside Latrell Mitchell, Hopoate capped an amazing year for the club which saw him named the Dr George Peponis Bulldogs Player of the Year as well as being nominated for Dally M Centre of the Year.
The Tongan International’s performances on the field this year were incredible, and it was amplified when he made the move from fullback to centre following the arrival of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
His combination with Reimis Smith was a highlight, while he grabbed nine tries, 75 tackles breaks, nine try assists and an average of 154.6 running metres per game to be one of the premier centres in the competition.
Hopoate was also recognised for his achievements off the field having Completed a Diploma of Community Services and Cert IV in Community.
NRL Wellbeing & Education Manager, Paul Heptonstall confirmed that 87% of players are currently engaged in career development, with the number increasing.
"It's pleasing to see such a high number of players combining football with study or work," Mr Heptonstall said.
"Research confirms that players with a balanced life perform more consistently than those with a sole focus.
"The courses that our players undertake are varied and it's great to see so many of them enjoying their rugby league and studies together."
The Players' 13 Dream Team:
2. Maika Sivo
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Will Hopoate
5. Daniel Tupou
6. Cameron Munster
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Payne Haas
9. Cameron Smith
10. Josh Papalii
11. John Bateman
12. Kenny Bromwich
13. Jake Trbojevic
Academic Team of the Year:
Vanessa Foliaki (Currently completing a Bachelor of Psychology, Massey University)
Matthew Lodge (Completed a Diploma of Business and currently completing a Bachelor of Business, Swinburne University)
James Tamou (Currently completing a Cert III in Carpentry and Cert III & IV in fitness and completed small Business, EABS)
Will Hopoate (Completed a Diploma of Community Services and Cert IV in Community, Granville TAFE)
Brett Morris (Currently completing a Cert III in Carpentry and Completed cert iv in small business, Gymea TAFE)
Daniel Alvaro (Currently completing a Cert III in Carpentry, Meadowbank TAFE)
Toafofoa Sipley (Completed a Bachelor of Education in High School teaching, University of Auckland)
Jamie Buhrer (Currently completing a Bachelor in Sports Business Management, ACPE)
Coen Hess (Currently doing Master of Business Administration and completed a Diploma of Hospitality and Diploma of Business Management, CQU)
Chanel Harris-Tavita (Currently completing a Bachelor of Business, Auckland University of Technology)
Keegan Hipgrave (Currently completing a Bachelor of Business, QUT)
Russell Packer (Currently completing a Masters Business Administration, UNSW)
Robbie Rochow (Currently completing a Bachelor of Engineering, UNSW)