All bases covered on road to recovery
NRL: Broncos winger Dale Copley has no regrets about pursuing a career in rugby league, despite suffering wretched luck with injuries over the past two seasons.
The 22-year-old played 15 games in 2012, scoring four tries, before a fractured leg cut his season short in round 19.
He was confident of a solid year in 2013, but that finished just 18 minutes into the pre-season when he injured his patella tendon in a trial against the Titans in February.
Now set for another comeback in season 2014, Copley, who is studying for a pharmacy degree at the University of Queensland, revealed his sporting career could quite easily have taken a completely different track.
As a teenager he represented Queensland in baseball at U14 and U16 level, playing alongside Logan Wade, Andrew Campbell, Brad Dutton and Mitch Nilsson who are all part of the Brisbane Bandits' roster in the Australian Baseball League.
"I had a tough decision to make when I was 15 because I loved footy and baseball," Copley said.
"But I have no regrets after choosing rugby league. In baseball you can also get a lot of injuries.
"I was talking to Mitch recently and he just had a shoulder reconstruction. I used to play in the outfield and first base, and also pitched a bit, which would have put a lot of pressure on my shoulder too.
"I made my decision and I'm happy living with it."
While he said he was confident his knee would stand up to the rigours of the NRL, he admitted competition for places among the outside backs at the Broncos would be fierce next season with recruits Ben Barba, Stewart Mills all looking for starting places.
Ever the optimist, Copley said he would be happy just to be back on the paddock after the difficulties of the past two seasons.
"The competition will bring the best out of everyone at the club," he said.
"But whether I play in the Queensland Cup or for the Broncos, I'll just be happy and excited to be back playing footy."
Copley said his knee had felt good so far in pre-season training.
He also said former Bulldogs star Barba could be set for a big season at Red Hill.
"He's been back running for the past two or three weeks following ankle surgery and he's looking pretty good. He's a tremendous athlete," Copley said.