Heavyweight boxer John Hopoate of Australia attends a news conference at the Orleans hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada May 20, 2009. Hopoate will face former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall of the U.S. for a 12-round heavyweight bout at the Orleans May 22. Hopoate is a former professional rugby player. Reuters/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

Former rugby league bad boy John Hopoate has hit out at the National Rugby League (NRL) over the league-imposed ban that threatens to put his coaching career in limbo.

Hopoate and the Manly Sea Eagles are fighting for the former’s right to continue coaching the club’s SB Ball side at the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL). Hopoate, whose 45 weeks suspension is the longest in the NRL history, insisted he was personally fit for a coaching job, while claiming it is embarrassing for the league to continue hammering him for things he had done more than 11 years ago.

“I’ve never had a parent complain about me coaching. All I’ve had is people giving a pat on the back and saying they love having me as a coach,” Hopoate told Fox Sports. “Just give me a go, move on.”

Hopoate had coached Manly’s under-18 side last weekend against Newcastle Knights at Brookvale Oval - a move that had been approved by the NSWRL, but the NRL, who refused to register Hopoate as a football official due to his history of off-court troubles in recent years, insisted that the former boxer was in breach of the league’s conduct.

According to Chris Barrett of the Sydney Morning Herald, the controversy surrounding Hopoate could be taken up to the Supreme Court. Hopoate’s barrister Julieanne Levick wants the matter to be investigated by the Supreme Court to get a “declaratory judgment” on which body has control over the under-18s competition.

"It may well be the case that this becomes a matter for a Supreme Court judge to make a ruling on the real issue of jurisdiction," Levick said on Monday.

Hopoate has since been turned down by the Sea Eagles after the league threatened the club with fines and stripping of NRL competition points due to the 42-year-old’s involvement in their affiliate. Manly’s first-grade side will play against Canberra at Brookvale on Saturday, but the club has no formal announcement about whether Hopoate will remain in charge.