Copeland was recruited through the 2001 Rookie Draft (QLD Zone) from the Northern Eagles and was elevated to the Senior list on 10 May that year after Michael Martin was placed on the long-term injury list. He made his debut for the Brisbane Lions in Round 9, 2001 against Adelaide. Copeland was regularly employed in a tagging role. Copeland's tagging job on Collingwood Captain, Nathan Buckley in the 2003 AFL Grand Final was considered a decisive influence in the Brisbane Lions win.
Copeland played 143 games for the Lions, usually as an automatic selection. However in September 2008 Copeland was delisted due to recurrent injuries and inconsistent performance. After being overlooked in the 2008 draft Copeland was chosen to be the inaugural captain for new first division QAFL club Aspley Hornets.