Wallabies captain and one-time Manly Marlins No.7 Michael Hooper has all but confirmed what local rugby fans have long suspected: he will never play in a Marlins-Rats derby.
Well, most likely won’t, anyway.
Talking to the Beaches Champion ahead of the Wallabies-France Test series which kicks off in Brisbane on July 7, Hooper said “It’s one of those things; awesome in theory but when it comes around it never quite lines up”.
“I’ve never played in one [a derby]. I would love to. But it’s just hard to line up times when you can actually rest the body.
“We play for 11 months of the season. Finding a window is tricky.
“But in saying that I’ll definitely be watching them one day,” Hooper said.
Hooper, who has played 105 Test matches for Australia, will turn 30 in October.
For the last ten years he has been fully immersed in the Australian and NSW rugby systems.
He said his 3-month rugby sabbatical with Toyota Verblitz in Japan was the first time he’d enjoyed a perspective of life outside the Australian rugby bubble.
He did admit to disappointment at missing the long lunch celebrating 50 years of Rats-Marlins derbies, however.
“I was in quarantine. I heard it was great, a huge lunch. My dad and brother attended.
“It’s another thing that I would’ve loved to attend but it just didn’t work in the schedule, unfortunately,” Hooper said.
Asked if he might one day end his playing days as one of those old boys who play into their late-30s and 40s, bopping about in 3rd and 4th grade, Hooper was emphatic.
“No. When I hang them up, I’ll be done,” he said.