The Courier-Mail

Co­p­ley sees a life­line to save ca­reer

- PETER BADEL

DALE Co­p­ley has vowed to fight for his ca­reer at the Bron­cos as the out-of-favour flyer pre­pares to bat­tle Jor­dan Kahu as the cen­tre suc­ces­sor to re­tir­ing cap­tain Justin Hodges.

Co­p­ley’s sea­son of frus­tra­tion will re­ceive a ray of hope to­mor­row night when he re­places the sus­pended Hodges for the Sun­corp Sta­dium clash with the Dragons.

The 24-year-old has be­come the for­got­ten man of Bris­bane’s premier­ship re­vival.

Last year, Co­p­ley was the club’s lead­ing tryscorer with 16 tries, but is try­less this sea­son from seven ap­pear­ances, fall­ing be­hind Kahu and Jack Reed in the peck­ing or­der.

Rated a fu­ture Queens­land Ori­gin star, Co­p­ley has suf­fered calf and ham­string in­juries and there were fears for his Bron­cos fu­ture af­ter he lan­guished in the In­trust Su­per Cup for al­most two months.

But Hodges’ one-week out­ing has opened the door for Co­p­ley to prove to Bron­cos coach Wayne Ben­nett that he can be a long-term re­place­ment for the de­part­ing skip­per.

“I see my­self as a cen­tre but football can toss up a lot of un­ex­pected things at times,” said Co­p­ley, off con­tract at the end of 2016. “It has been a frus­trat­ing year, but I get a chance this week. I’m here for the rest of this year and next, I have a con­tract and I’m go­ing to hon­our that.’’

“He (Ben­nett) just said keep your head up and when you get a chance, you have to play well.”

Ben­nett said Co­p­ley re­mained a key fig­ure in his plans in the post-Hodges era.

“Dale hasn’t taken a step back but he got some in­juries and he got left out of the team be­cause ev­ery­one else was play­ing so well,” Ben­nett said.

“He’s a vic­tim of qual­ity play­ers in the po­si­tion he plays but he is a qual­ity player.”

 ??  ?? RE­TURN ACT: Dale Co­p­ley.
RE­TURN ACT: Dale Co­p­ley.

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