Injury-depleted Gold Coast have received another blow with the NRL knocking back their request to play recruit Dale Copley in Friday night’s NRL clash with Parramatta.
Copley received a Sydney Roosters release and signed on Wednesday with the winless Gold Coast – 24 hours after the Titans submitted their initial 21-strong squad for the Eels match.
The Titans had applied for a special exemption to inject Copley into their depleted backline or have him on standby as an injury replacement.
But the NRL has denied the battling Gold Coast, saying it “did not satisfy the circumstances required for an exemption to be granted”.
“The new guidelines around team lists are designed to ensure there is certainty around who is named on a Tuesday and who runs out to play,” a NRL statement said.
“The Titans applied to include Dale Copley in their squad late on Wednesday night.
“Whilst we have some sympathy towards the Titans and their injury problems, in this case, Dale Copley was not a registered Titans player when the team lists were announced on Tuesday and the request was declined.”
A NRL spokesman said it made the ruling to uphold the fairness and integrity of the new selection guidelines.
The ruling is believed to be final.
Under new rules, teams must submit a 21-strong squad on a Tuesday, trim it to 19, 24 hours before the game then confirm their 17 players an hour ahead of kickoff.
It will be shattering news for Titans coach Neil Henry who sounded quietly confident his recruit would play when he fronted media on Thursday ahead of the NRL announcement.
“We have to have a contingency plan if they knock him back but I can’t really see a reason (why they would),” he said.
“We couldn’t name him in the 21 because we weren’t sure he would come – that was out of our hands.”
Gold Coast have 12 players injured or unavailable ahead of their daunting clash with the rampant ladder leaders.
“We are really depleted in the outside backs,” Henry said.
Copley had appeared on standby for English centre Dan Sarginson who was named in the starting backline but Henry admitted an ongoing knee complaint was expected to rule him out.