Under fire Boyd hits out: I am number one


Under fire veteran Darius Boyd has hit back at critics over his commitment to the Broncos and insists he will not be out of his depth in his return to fullback for Friday night's clash against the Sharks.

Seemingly written off as a fullback option at the Broncos, the retiring Boyd will play his first game in 390 days in the No.1 jumper as Brisbane attempt to keep their season alive by beating Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium.

Amid the darkest season of his 14-year NRL career, Boyd will celebrate another milestone, surpassing Andrew Ettingshausen (328) with his 329th game against the Sharks club where 'ET' became a household name.

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Broncos veteran Darius Boyd and Rising star Kotoni Staggs at Red Hill. Picture: Lachie Millard
Broncos veteran Darius Boyd and Rising star Kotoni Staggs at Red Hill. Picture: Lachie Millard

Boyd was axed as captain and fullback by Broncos coach Anthony Seibold over summer and moved into a left-centre role this season in a bid to rediscover his mojo in his final season in rugby league.

But the unavailability of fullback duo Tesi Niu and Jamayne Isaako and halfback Brodie Croft has forced Seibold to issue an SOS for Boyd and the former skipper insists he is not a spent force in the backfield.

"It's like riding a bike, you don't forget how to do it," said Boyd, who last played fullback against Cronulla in last year's famous Baby Bronco 24-22 boilover at Shark Park.

"I still feel fullback is my best position - I played there for 14 years.

"When you are playing in your favourite spot, it's easier to play well there and I'm confident I can do the job this week."

Darius Boyd will play his 329th game. Picture: Annette Dew
Darius Boyd will play his 329th game. Picture: Annette Dew

Boyd will move past Ettingshausen into 13th spot on the all-time list of NRL appearances and by season's end, the two-time premiership-winner will be firmly entrenched in the code's top 10.

Just turned 33, Boyd has copped some savage criticism this season for his contributions at left centre, with NRL Immortal Andrew Johns repeatedly calling for Seibold to drop his most accomplished player.

But the former Origin and Test custodian blasted suggestions he has lost the hunger to succeed in his remaining three months in the NRL.

Underscoring his commitment, Boyd went into Red Hill on the team's day off on Tuesday to do extras, finetuning his catching under the high ball in anticipation of a Cronulla aerial raid.

"I'm giving the team everything I can," he said.

"Look, I know I can be better. But it's not through a lack of effort or a lack of trying. I have kept turning up every day this year trying to help the young guys and trying to be as vocal as I can be on the field.

"I don't really want to talk about my personal record (going past Ettingshausen) because all of us need to be better as a team. At the moment it's not good enough.

"I just want us to get more wins and deliver better performances that the fans can be proud of."

Seibold dismissed suggestions Boyd is a protected species, insisting he is earning his spot in the side.

"Darius has in my opinion been really strong at left centre this year," he said.

"One of the reasons I kept him there was to have some stability on that left edge after having a couple of different players around him.

"This week with Brodie being out, I wanted to move 'Milly' (Anthony Milford) back to six and Darius has played the bulk of his career at fullback.

"He is a quality player and understands the role really well. I am sure he won't miss a beat there."

Originally published as Under fire Boyd hits out: I am number one