General Clinton Toopi

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The 22 BEAST_old

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From Stuff.co.nz

Life looking up for ex-Warrior Clinton Toopi
By CHRIS BARCLAY

His guilt over leaving the girls in Whakatane to revive his rugby league career has eased; those aches and pains in his reconstructed right knee finally seem manageable.

Ten months after abandoning family life for the uncertainty of an incentive-based contract at the Gold Coast Titans, Clinton Toopi suddenly has the best of both worlds - improved terms for 2011 and the relocation of his wife and daughters to Surfers Paradise.

Add in a potential grand final ring on October 3 plus guaranteed employment as a mentor for the Titans' indigenous players once his career ends, and this year represents a remarkable turn of events for one of the restoration projects of the National Rugby League (NRL) season.

Toopi sounds almost speechless down the line from Titans headquarters at Robina, hardly surprising given the 30-year-old was on the verge of retirement when he returned home to nurse a nagging calf injury in June.

He very nearly did not make the return flight 10 days later, only a heart-to-heart with his wife Turenga convinced him to board at Auckland.

"I was fed up with injuries and being away from the family, there were so many times I could have chucked it in," he said.

But Toopi persevered, initially down in the Queensland Cup with the Burleigh Bears until an injury crisis saw him restored to first grade in late July for the golden point win at St George Illawarra.

An automatic selection ever since, Toopi's experience and consistency has been recognised with a place in the 25-man first grade squad next season.

"I'm pretty stoked, it's a career path and a bit of security. They've offered me a contract (for 2011) and then and I go into the workforce."

Mat Rogers' retirement and the Titans unsuccessful bid for Kangaroos and Queensland centre Greg Inglis contributed to him playing another season.

"It made the opportunity more likely," Toopi said.

"We're probably lacking in the backs now with Rat (Rogers) leaving. This year we were so over stacked it wasn't funny. There were seven or eight centres."

And gradually they all ended up in slings, on crutches or playing out of position -- like Rogers at five-eighth.

It means eight years since reaching the NRL's premiership decider with the New Zealand Warriors, Toopi can visualise a second appearance in the sport's pinnacle at ANZ Stadium.

His former club presents the first obstacle at Skilled Park tomorrow night, the play-off between the fourth and fifth-ranked finalists.
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Toopi, who played 129 games for the Warriors, faced his old team for the first time at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on August 1 and reckons nothing has changed over the last six weeks.

"The Beast is still terrorising blokes, he's bowling everyone over like he's in a temper," said Toopi of cult hero Manu Vatuvei.

Vatuvei has scored three of his 19 tries this season against the Titans, it's primarily Toopi and Jordan Aitkins' responsibility on the right edge to prevent a repeat performance.

"We've gone over a few scenarios in training and practiced a few things we can do to limit his options and success in the air," Toopi said.

"But realistically the whole team has to be alert around him whenever he gets the ball. One or two guys aren't going to nullify The Beast."

Despite Vatuvei's presence Australian bookmakers quote the Titans as $1.57 favourites to beat the Warriors ($2.40) for a sixth successive game and draw closer to the Grand Final.

Toopi felt there were similarities -- and a significant difference -- between the Warriors of 2002 and today's Titans.

"There is that same bond and feeling there but it seems like we're not reliant on one person. It feels like the whole team can take us through.

"We've got experience in Scotty Prince, Rat (Rogers), Nathan Friend, Greg Bird ....

"When I look back at the Warriors it was left up to Stacey Jones to do the job."

Toopi, meanwhile, is delighted not to have to fend for himself next year.

Turenga, five-year-old Waimania and Brianna, 3, move over in January, long overdue.

"I'd never want to go through that separation again," Toopi said.

"I'm just glad my selfishness and their sacrifices have paid off for the family as a whole."
 

feijoa_old

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Campbell ruled out of clash,feel a bit more confident now
 
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Swanley_old

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signing toopi would og been a backwards move. Joel Moon and Inu are more than able to replace Tate.
 

Jesbass_old

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Congrats to Toopi for his contract extension. He's played well so far in 2010.
 

Moz_old

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Hey can any stat heads out there settle an argument Im having with a mate
Did Clinton score a hatrick twice against the Kangaroos in two trans-tasy tests theres a case riding on this ( for me if he definetely did )

cheers if anyone can help
 

Spence_old

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He did indeed score 2 hattricks against the Aussies. I'm not sure if they were in trans-tas tests or tournaments, or what have you though.
 

Spence_old

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If your friend doesn't believe you tell him to look at the results for the match held in october 2003 and again in the tri nations 2005.
 

Moz_old

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If your friend doesn't believe you tell him to look at the results for the match held in october 2003 and again in the tri nations 2005.

He basically said " Toops may have FLUKED it once but there is NO way he could have scored two hatricks against a Kangaroo backline of any era" thats pretty much word for word hahaha he's gonna shit when I tell him
 

Northern_Union

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Tell your friend that Toops did score two hattricks against the aussies in test matches.
 

Jesbass_old

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He basically said " Toops may have FLUKED it once but there is NO way he could have scored two hatricks against a Kangaroo backline of any era" thats pretty much word for word hahaha he's gonna shit when I tell him

Your friend has a bizarrely low opinion of Clinton Toopi. At his peak, he was a world beater and regularly referred to as one of the world's best centres. Not only was he the first player in history to score a hattrick against the Kangaroos but he is still (I think) the only player to do it twice.

Hattrick 1 was at the famous 2003 North Harbour test: https://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/..._Australia_2003/New_Zealand-vs-Australia.html

Hattrick 2 was in the opening match of the 2005 Tri-Nations: https://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/matches/Tri-Nations_2005/Game_1/Australia-vs-New_Zealand.html

He also scored doubles against France and Great Britain.
 

Kabba_old

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Don't think the North Harbour test was a Tri-Nations/Four nations/whatever the hell game. But the second hat-trick definitely was as that was the same tournament we 24 nilled Aussie in the final.
 

Moz_old

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Your friend has a bizarrely low opinion of Clinton Toopi. At his peak, he was a world beater and regularly referred to as one of the world's best centres. Not only was he the first player in history to score a hattrick against the Kangaroos but he is still (I think) the only player to do it twice.

Hattrick 1 was at the famous 2003 North Harbour test: https://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/..._Australia_2003/New_Zealand-vs-Australia.html

Hattrick 2 was in the opening match of the 2005 Tri-Nations: https://www.rugbyleagueproject.org/matches/Tri-Nations_2005/Game_1/Australia-vs-New_Zealand.html

He also scored doubles against France and Great Britain.

No mate he has an over inflated opinion of the Kangaroo Team, he is arrogance personified this guy ( when it comes to the Kangaroos that is not generally ) thats why I cant wait to stick it to him, with complete and utter humility of course
 
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Jesbass_old

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Don't think the North Harbour test was a Tri-Nations/Four nations/whatever the hell game. But the second hat-trick definitely was as that was the same tournament we 24 nilled Aussie in the final.

Correct. The Tri-Nations only existed in 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2006.