Tyrone flies the coop to sign with Brothers
IT MAY be April 1, but this is no joke - Tyrone Hopgood will play against his former club Hervey Bay Seagulls this Saturday after agreeing to play for Brothers in 2014.
The Chronicle can reveal Hopgood, who this time last year was preparing for his first game as co-coach of the Seagulls, agreed to terms with the Bundaberg powerhouse last Thursday, just nine days before the club's A-grade season-opener.
Brothers are now waiting for the details of the contract to be signed off by the Bundaberg Rugby League, which is expected to be finalised in the coming days.
If so, the 2013 A-grade representative player of the year will be cleared to line up against his former teammates at Salter Oval on Saturday.
Hopgood, who was an uncontracted player before signing with Brothers, said it was a tough decision to leave the Seagulls, a club that has always supported him and played for the majority of his rugby league career.
However, the 23-year-old father did what he felt was best for him.
"I wasn't going to play this year, so it was a big decision," Hopgood (pictured) told the Chronicle.
"Brothers are a great club and I'm excited about the year and looking forward to a new challenge in my career.
"I'm only doing it for personal reasons, nothing against anyone.
"(I'm) Just doing it for myself and for my family."
Brothers will be the third club Hopgood, a powerful backrower who has the skills of a five-eighth, has played for in four years having also represented Isis in 2011.
His decision to join Brothers came as a shock to many at the Seagulls.
Hervey Bay president Scott Rowe said it would be tough watching Hopgood running around in different colours this season, but could understand why he chose to link with Brothers.
"Tyrone is a fantastic young talent and it's a great shame to see him not playing in a Seagulls jersey in season 2014," he said.
"However, we understand in this day and age the motivation of players who are offered quite good money in a regional rugby league competition to play for welfare clubs.
"I know our committee and the players will be disappointed they're not playing alongside him this year.
"But Hervey Bay can't afford to pay their players.
"We never have and until we get a leagues club behind us we never will."
Hopgood's arrival is a major boost for Brothers who are expected to be without the services of Shaun Collins for most of the season after the gifted centre found work in Gladstone.
The Brethren have a terrific track record in luring star players to the club.
Last year the club obtained the services of Seagulls duo Tom Quill and Brendan Braam (who have both returned to the Seagulls this year) as well as former Wallaroos skipper Brad Jung.
Brothers president Dean Holdsworth said Hopgood was one of the best players in the competition and said it would be a shame if he wasn't competing in the Bundaberg Rugby League.
"It's a big signing for us and we're looking forward to having him play for us," he said.
"We knew we would be losing Shaun Collins so to lose a player of that calibre and to get someone like Tyrone is great.
"We've also lost a lot of forwards from last year so we're looking for him to fill that gap and do whatever the coach (Shaun Hobson) asks of him."