Every father dreams that their children will outshine them in life, so John Hopoate must be brimming with pride after son Jamil was recently arrested and nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame for leading police on a car chase related to alleged drug importation. Jamil now achieves the rare honour of being nominated for both The Frownlow Medal and the hall of fame in the same year.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern-day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while AFL player Elijah Taylor is the most recent recipient.
The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame honours former players and players who received media attention in previous seasons, for similarly scandalous behaviour, and its inductees include Ben Cousins and Julian O’Neill.
Jamil allegedly got into a truck containing $155 million worth of cocaine, and sped through the streets of Sydney with the police in pursuit. He then allegedly jumped from the truck, dumped a backpack also containing cocaine and sprinted away from police in the suburb of Pagewood. He was eventually caught before he could ground the ball with downward pressure in the in-goal area.
Young Hopoate will now most likely spend time in prison, for the second time. He was sentenced to 18 months in 2014 after being found guilty of a violent assault outside a Manly pub, while he was playing for the Sea Eagles. He and two friends brutally bashed two men and hit and kicked them while they were on the ground. Jamil also argued with security guards and fled the scene, and later defended himself by saying he had self-medicated with alcohol to deal with stress and anxiety.
The back-rower was welcomed back into the NRL, where he most recently played for the Brisbane Broncos. He’s lost his contract with the Broncos even before he was charged with assaulting his partner in Port Macquarie in late 2020. Police allege Jamil hit his partner to the ground, spat at security guards, threatened to bash them and fled the scene, leaving behind the mother of his nine-month-old child. His partner was taken to hospital, and he was later caught drink-driving.
Father John is the owner of rugby league’s most famous finger, and earned numerous nominations for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame, for playing rugby union under a false name, verbally abusing a touch judge and ball boy, and for numerous charges of assault – but he never went to prison.
Jamil can now look forward to reuniting with some of his prison buddies, and playing for the rugby league prisoners team, which includes some very talented former first-grade players.