For an injury-ravaged Gold Coast, Sydney Roosters recruit Dale Copley’s Titans debut can’t come soon enough, but Titans prop Jarrod Wallace believes the NRL’s decision to delay the centre’s first appearance may have be a blessing in disguise.
Copley will finally be injected into a depleted Titans back line in Saturday night’s home clash with North Queensland.
The stage had been set for Copley to make a whirlwind debut last round against Parramatta before the NRL stepped in.
The league knocked back the injury-hit Titans’ request for an exemption to play Copley because they had signed the centre on a Wednesday – 24 hours after they submitted their 21-man squad for the Eels clash.
The Titans were left unimpressed by the ruling but Wallace believes it may have been for the best.
Wallace said an extra week at training would ensure Copley was ready to step up for Gold Coast’s walking wounded.
“It would have been real handy to have him last week,” Wallace said. “But at the end of the day it might have been good for him.
“He’d only come straight off the plane and hadn’t had much to do with the boys.
“Now it’s given him a week to really find his feet – I am looking forward to him playing on Saturday night.”
Wallace said his former Brisbane teammate Copley was a welcome sight in more ways than one.
He said it was great to be reunited with the ex-Bronco – and to have a specialist centre fit.
Gold Coast have 12 players either injured or unavailable and may have more headaches with centre Konrad Hurrell (leg) and utility Tyrone Roberts (hamstring) under a cloud after their gutsy 26-14 win over the Eels.
The Titans scrambled as the injury list grew against Parramatta, with back-rowers Chris McQueen and Kevin Proctor forced to play in the centres at one stage.
“We have had players out of position so it will be good to have him in the centres,” Wallace said of Copley.
“He was really upset last week (about not playing) but I am sure as soon as he puts that jersey on he won’t let anyone down.
“He’s fast, powerful, got a real dominant presence on that left edge – I look forward to seeing what he can do.”
Copley is expected to feature in yet another new-look Titans back line.
Besides Hurrell, winger Will Zillman reinjured a calf complaint against the Eels.
Centre Dan Sarginson (knee) is not expected back until round six while Jarryd Hayne (ankle) faces could be absent for another five weeks.