NRL 1 year ago

Graham supports Hopoate's finals move

  • Graham supports Hopoate's finals move

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 09: James Graham of the Bulldogs is held back by Dene Halatau of the Tigers during the round 18 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on July 9, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Canterbury skipper James Graham has thrown his support behind Will Hopoate's decision to sit out Sunday's NRL elimination final with Penrith due to his religious beliefs.

Hopoate has informed the club he will not be part of the Bulldogs side for the sudden-death clash at Allianz Stadium.

"I am comfortable with that," said Graham at Monday's NRL finals launch.

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'Will's faith makes him the person who he is.

"We all support his decision."

Brett Morris is likely to move from wing to fullback in place of Hopoate.

But Dogs coach Des Hasler faces something of a outside back crisis for the clash with the in-form Panthers, with Sam Perrett not due back from a neck injury until week two of the finals, if the Dogs progress.

Reimis Smith, who scored two tries on his NRL debut earlier this year, has a broken leg. Rookie Brad Abbey is also unavailable due to injury.

Tyrone Phillips, who has been struggling with a ankle injury, is expected to come onto the wing for Morris.

Star fullback Hopoate, who observes the Mormon faith, missed three matches earlier this year because they fell on Sunday.

"We covered for him when he was out before and I'm sure we can do so again," Graham said.

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