Wednesday 3 December 2008

Two-time premiership player Robert Copeland will captain new club Aspley in the State League next season if he is not selected in the upcoming AFL Pre-Season Draft.

The 143-game former Brisbane utility was delisted by the Lions at the end of the 2008 season and while he has been hoping for a lifeline at the elite level, is preparing to make a strong contribution at the next tier down.

“Obviously you want to play at the highest level, but that decision is up to someone else,” Copeland said. “I’m happy with what I’ve achieved if I’m not picked up, and just as happy to pass on whatever experience I can at local level.”

Still only 27, Copeland made the conditional commitment to Aspley this week and is preparing to take on an assistant coaching role to former QAFL premiership player David Martin as well as captaining the side.

Copeland’s presence will be a massive boost to the Hornets considering they are yet to sign many of the now defunct Zillmere Eagles’ top players apart from Shaun Tapp.

A former Eagle himself who played in two losing AFLQ grand final sides before being rookie listed by the Lions, Copeland means business.

“I want to give as much back as I can at AFLQ level and hopefully my decision will sway a few blokes who are sitting on the edge,” he said. “I played in AFL premierships but not in the AFLQ and I’d like to do that.”

A Rising Star nominee and premiership player in his first season with the Brisbane Lions in 2001, Copeland’s finest moment was the 2003 grand final when he tagged Collingwood superstar Nathan Buckley out of the game.

Born at Redcliffe and educated mostly in Kilcoy, Copeland is also keen to represent Queensland in the interstate arena.

“You could class the Lions as a State team but it’s still not the colours – the maroon and white – and I’d love to pay for my State,” he said.

Copeland underwent ankle reconstructive surgery at the end of the season which hampered him through his 13 games in 2008 - although he was still chosen in the AFL-Courier-Mail Team of the Year - and is making a strong recovery.


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