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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