Former rugby league bad boy John Hopoate has declared his son Will 'ready to step up' to the NRL should Manly coach Des Hasler gamble on the teenager as a replacement for injured fullback Brett Stewart.
Hopoate jnr, a speedier and slimmer version of his famous father, has been a stand-out in the Toyota Cup (under-20s) and is seen as a real star of the future.
The 17-year-old is unlikely to be used by the Sea Eagles early in the season but could figure in their plans later in the year, especially if the club's crippling injury list grows.
Hopoate snr, one of rugby league's most controversial figures, backed his eldest boy to succeed should Hasler call on his services.
"I think he could handle the step up but that’s coming from a dad," he told Sportal on Wednesday night.
"He never seems to get nervous and always seems to go out there and play well."
"When he was playing SG Ball people were saying he was too young for the 20s but he stepped up and did well."
"Now he's being talked about for first grade and people might think he's not ready but maybe he should get a go."
"If the club asked me I would say he's ready but I'm not the coach. At the end of the day it's up to Des."
Hasler said of Hopoate: "(Ben) Farrar and (Michael) Robertson would probably have the edge in experience over Will, but that's not to say that at some stage during the year he won't get a shot at it."
"And he would be more than ready to take that chance."
Co-captain Jamie Lyon added: "He's (Hopoate) a great prospect. He's a great kid and has got a big future."