After putting his former club Brisbane to the sword, Dale Copley has put his Broncos axing behind him as he seeks to reignite his NRL career.
Copley has struggled this season since moving south to join Sydney Roosters, with injuries playing a significant role in that.
But the 24-year-old showed what he is capable in the Roosters’ 32-16 win at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night in the opener to round 21 in his best game for the Tricolours.
Copley dominated his opposite James Roberts, who he was moved aside for this season in scoring two tries and setting up another.
Copley won Channel Nine’s man of the match award and Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said the performance was no surprise to him, after he had spoiled Copley’s dream of becoming a one-club player.
“I thought that if that was possible, I would have liked to do that, but it didn’t end up that way,” said Copley, who played 72 games across six seasons for the Broncos.
“The NRL is a business so I understand that and I copped it on the chin and came down here and it’s going OK.”
OK is probably overstating things. Copley suffered a pec injury in round three, that has put a large hole in his season. The win over Brisbane was his 10th game this year.
“The year has been a rollercoaster,” he said.
“It was a sort of quick move down to Sydney, settled in to Sydney, and then go to England, play a couple of games, get injured, come back and the results haven’t been great.”
Copley took some satisfaction from the job he did on Roberts.
“It’s like every week. It’s a battle out there, centre on centre every week, so it doesn’t matter who I play; I want to get one up on them. It was nothing personal there, that’s our game,” he said.
Copley admitted to a sense of frustration as to what might have been this year after the Roosters claimed just their fourth win this year over the Broncos.
“There’s a bit of a feeling of frustration, knowing how many close games we’ve been in and unable to close them. So it was really nice to close that game,” he said.