In the battle between age and skill, what is more important? If youâ€™re good enough, should your age matter? Manly Sea Eaglesâ€™ young gun William Hopoate is the latest player to have his readiness for representative rugby league questioned because he is only 18 years-old. The utility back, who has managed to give his surname a fresh slate, has been mentioned as a possible State of Origin bolter for New South Wales after an amazing start to the 2011 season. The only thing counting against him, it seems, is the fact that on his birth certificate it says he was born in 1992. Some would like to see the Manly Cove junior play another season before being given the chance in sky-blue. Others, hungry for success, believe his form warrants a call-up. So what matters more? Hopoate plays against men week-in-and-week-out. Some of those men will be running out for Queensland shortly. Is it beyond a player of Hopoateâ€™s experience to confront a team full of skillful players all at once as opposed to maybe 2 or 3 at a time? History shows this argument is flawed. Israel Folau was the youngest ever player to pull on a green and gold jumper when he made his debut for Australia aged 18 years and 194 days against New Zealand in 2007. That was after his first season in the NRL. He went on to play for Queensland the following year. He wasnâ€™t old enough, but he was certainly good enough. English Premier League club Liverpool are seeing the fruit of giving youth a chance to shine. 18 year-old right back John Flanagan has fitted in to the first team with ease since making his debut while 17-year-old Jack Robinson has done the same at left back. Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar was just 16-years-old when he made his test debut. He proceeded to score 16-test hundreds before he turned 25. In 2001, Lleyton Hewitt was the best tennis player in the world at the tender age of 20 while Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon at 17 and claimed two more Grand Slams before she was 21. Ian Thorpe was 14 when he represented Australia at the World Swimming Championships in Perth in 1998. He won the 400m freestyle and his career turned out to be pretty good from that point on. These are just a few people that prove age is irrelevant. OK, Thorpe, Hewitt, Sharapova, Flanagan and Robinson will never throw themselves into burly front-rowers, but it shows their skill level was better than people older than them. Hopoate is currently one of the best players in the NRL. The question for Blues coach Ricky Stuart is: Can you afford not to pick him? Everyone will be mindful of exposing a player like Hopoate to the Origin arena too early, but shouldnâ€™t he be given the chance to fail? Who knows, he may just prove to everyone that heâ€™s up to it. You can follow Luke Doherty on Twitter @Luke_Doherty and on Sky News Australia. [hr] Personally I'd like to see him wait a little longer.