Titans keen to re-sign improving centre Copley
Gold Coast have made in-form centre Dale Copley their next signing priority after retaining his former Brisbane teammate Jarrod Wallace and snaring Canberra prop Shannon Boyd for four years.
Titans head of football Phil Moss has begun negotiations with Copley, who has scored four tries in his seven appearances this season at left centre.
The 26-year-old, who studies law part-time, was last season seen as a defensive weakness on the left outside Kane Elgey and inside several wingers used.
However, it is an area of his game that has improved enormously and he has probably been the Titans' most consistent back in between missing three games with a hamstring injury.
He has excelled since being under pressure for his position at the start of the season with Phillip Sami seen as an option at centre rather than on the wing.
"Digger is someone I have been very vocal about and I have a massive opinion of and I'd like him to stay on board," said coach Garth Brennan.
"I know there had been concerns about his defence but that might have been as much as fitting into the structure and combinations last year after he came here late.
"I use the same defensive structure he was brought up on and he is a lot more comfortable this year and has worked hard on it. He's been in tremendous form."
Copley has busted 26 tackles and made five line-breaks in 2018, half of what he produced all last season in 19 Telstra Premiership appearances.
He missed 44 of 210 attempted tackles last year and was ineffective in another 16, giving him an efficiency rate of 74.5%. This has increased to 82.7% in 2018 and he has made several crucial decisions on the left edge.
With the ball, his left-foot step, pace and strength have been potent.
The Titans pinned down their top retention priority in Wallace but have several squad members off contract including Copley, Keegan Hipgrave, Anthony Don, Brenko Lee, Kane Elgey and Tyronne Roberts-Davis.
However, they have secured an excellent nucleus for the next few seasons with Ryan James (2020), Wallace (2022), Jai Arrow (2020), Ash Taylor (2021), Kevin Proctor (2020), Morgan Boyle (2020), Max King (2019), Konrad Hurrell (2019), Michael Gordon (2019), Moeaki Fotuaika (2021), Bryce Cartwright (2021), Leilani Latu (2020), Alexander Brimson (2020), Phi Sami (2020) and Tyrone Peachey, who joins next year on a three-year deal.