He was already set to miss series-opener against Pakistan at the Gabba last week before being suspended by Cricket Australia for an alleged homophobic slur in the Shield game against Queensland a fortnight ago. That is the only match Pattinson has played in over five weeks.
With just two rounds of the Shield before the break for the Big Bash League, opportunities are scarce for Pattinson to force his way back into the XI due to Mitchell Starc’s resurgence and the Test schedule.
While national selectors are open to rotating their pace battalion, there may be no need until the New Year in Sydney with breaks of eight and nine days leading into the Perth and Boxing Day Tests against New Zealand. Australia may also play two frontline spinners at the spin-friendly SCG.
The Blues are well clear at the top of the Shield table after winning all four of their games but this is their first match without their Test stars.
Pattinson comes up against a fresh faced Blues batting line-up, which could be fielding up to three players with little first-class experience. Nick Bertus has played just three games, Daniel Solway two and Matthew Gilkes one.
The evergreen Copeland, who played three Tests in 2011, needs only six more wickets to become the fourth player to claim 300 Shield wickets for the Blues. He would be in elite company, joining NSW royalty Geoff Lawson (367), Greg Matthews (363) and Stuart MacGill (328).
This is the first round of matches in which Kookaburra’s refined red Turf ball will be used. The ball has been designed to improve the resilience of the seam, which theoretically should produce more lateral movement off the pitch.