News Release

Rugby League Players and their Wives Speak to Mormon Youth

‘Put the Lord First and You Will Flourish’

Three Mormon professional rugby league players ― Will Hopoate, Lagi Setu and Sam Perrett ― spoke to young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sydney on Sunday evening [6 July 2014].
The three men, alongside Setu and Perrett’s wives, Adele and Jemma, shared their experiences as Latter-day Saints involved in Australia’s National Rugby League. 
“As we seek to put the Lord first in our lives, all other aspects of our lives begin to flourish,” Will Hopoate told the youth. He also encouraged the teens to “get all the education they can get.” 
Hopoate defined education as: “Knowledge acquired by learning, in any area of life ― including sport, employment, school and the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

He used a metallurgic analogy to make his point. “A piece of iron is worth $5. A horse shoe of the same weight is worth $10. If you make needles of it, it’s worth $150. Blades for knives, it’s worth $3,300. And if you use it at its full potential, its worth exceeds $25,000.”
“Just like iron,” he said, “when we take our education as far as we can, our potential is immeasurable”.
He went on: “As an NRL player, you don’t just need physical strength and a healthy body, you need to continually educate yourself about the game. How to pass, how to understand the plays and know how to react to them. Continuous education means you know how to fulfill your responsibilities.”
In addition to his football commitments with the Parramatta Eels, Hopoate is about to begin studying at a Sydney university.
Hopoate also talked to the young people about his Latter-day Saint two-year mission. “I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God,” he said. “If there is one thing you can take away from my talk, it is to love it, acquire a testimony of it, and share it.”
Also speaking at the devotional were Lagi Setu, who spoke on missionary work in the Church, and Adele Setu, his wife, who spoke about Latter-day Saint teachings regarding marriage.  Mr Setu is also a professional rugby league football player who plays for the Canberra Raiders.
Sam Perrett, who plays for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, spoke about Latter-day Saint temples and their significance to members of the Church and to him, personally.  “The temple,” he said, “is a sanctuary from the world and its influences.”
In addition to his stellar football career, spanning 10 seasons, Perrett has completed a carpentry apprenticeship, obtained a builder’s license and a diploma of business. He now runs his own building company.
He is a member of the 2011 NRL academic team of the year and a nominee for the NRL Favourite Son Award. He is also an ambassador for the Miracle Babies Foundation, an organization supporting premature and ill-newborns and their families, as well as the hospitals involved in their care.
Jemma Perrett shared her feelings about families. “I believe,” she said, “that families are forever.” She also quoted from ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ ― a statement made by Latter-day Saint leaders that outlines Church teachings on marriage and family.
Church leader, Elder Andrew O’Riordan, gave closing remarks at the devotional. “In the Pacific Area,” he said, “we don’t like sport, we love sport.”
“But we have come here tonight for something more important than sport ― the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“The Lord can do so much more with our lives than we can ourselves. The Lord’s teachings require us to put others first. Jesus Christ’s example should always be at the forefront of our hearts and minds.”
Elder O’Riordan thanked Will Hopoate, the Setus and Perretts for their remarks, and for encouraging by word and example the youth of the Church to follow Christ in their lives.


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