Boyd’s selfless response to captaincy axing
Darius Boyd has opened up about his sacking as Broncos captain, insisting he holds no grudges towards coach Anthony Seibold as he prepares to fight for his NRL career at Red Hill.
Boyd's brave new world begins Saturday night when he launches his 2020 campaign in a trial against Central Queensland in Rockhampton without two things he treasured most - the fullback spot and the Broncos captaincy.
Stripped of the decorated Broncos captaincy and his beloved No.1 jumper, Boyd will start at left centre, effectively his last-chance saloon amid speculation the 317-game icon could be pushed into retirement at season's end.
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Boyd held the captaincy for three seasons, winning 39 of 70 games for a handy strike-rate of 55 per cent, and one could mount the argument he was made the scapegoat for Brisbane's horror 58-0 finals debacle against the Eels.
But Boyd is determined to be better, not bitter, saying he has come to terms with being dumped in favour of Alex Glenn and will now prove to Seibold he has something to offer in his redefined role.
"I am at ease with it (losing the captaincy)," Boyd said.
"To be honest, I knew for four or five months that I wasn't going to be the captain.
"The reality is I'm at the back end of my career and if Anthony thinks the club needs to go in a different direction, then I'll support that.
"I've always said I wanted the best for the Broncos. It was never about me.
"Naturally, I was disappointed. When 'Seibs' told me, I copped it on the chin. I never wanted to lose the job but I understand there's a bigger picture and I hold no grudges towards anyone.
"It's not a position I ever took for granted. You don't just walk into the captaincy. You have to earn it and you have to be the best option for the club and the team moving forward.
"That's changed now and I accept that. I just want to leave the club, whenever that is, on a positive note."
The Australian cricket team has shown a senior player can offer value after a captaincy shake-up.
In 2011, Ricky Ponting stood down as national skipper and remained a loyal servant to Michael Clarke for another 18 months before his departure from the baggy green.
Boyd, who turns 33 in July and is gearing up for his 15th NRL campaign, is determined not to be a toxic influence lamenting his demise at the Broncos.
"Alex Glenn will get my full support," he said.
"`Lexi' deserves the role. He has been at this club a long time and has been a great leader on and off the field. He is a proud, one-club player. The boys love and respect him so he will do a great job and senior blokes like myself and Andrew McCullough are here to help him.
"I will still have input as a leader. I'm happy to talk in meetings and help the younger guys with experiences I have had in the game. Just because I no longer have the 'C' next to my name, it doesn't mean I can't offer something to the group."
Boyd said Seibold dropped the bombshell at their end-of-season, one-on-one review in the days after the Parramatta disaster.
"Seibs sat me down and he was honest with me," he said.
"He has been great to me since he has been here and I can only respect him for being transparent with me.
"I have no issue with Seibs. Our relationship is fine and nothing will change. I was never the captain for my own individual accolades. They gave me the job because I was considered the best person for the job.
"To be honest, I achieved more than I had hoped. I never thought I would captain the Broncos. I never, ever dreamt I would get that opportunity, so to be the captain for the three years was a big honour.
"As captain, you tend to worry about the team and how individuals go, but I've always just turned up to training and made sure I led the way and did my job.
"I was lucky to have guys like Sam Thaiday, Benji Marshall, Adam Blair and Matt Gillett beside me so Alex will find he has senior guys like me he can lean on and help him if he needs it."
Boyd's contract for this season is complex. There is a unique clause in his deal that contains a percentage figure of games he must play this season to trigger an extension for 2021.
Ostensibly, Boyd must play a minimum 15 NRL games to activate another 12 months.
It has been suggested Boyd would rather retire than be dumped to the Intrust Super Cup. Ultimately, Boyd is backing himself to stave off former NSW Origin centre Jack Bird and remain in the No.3 jumper made famous by Steve Renouf.
"I'm focused completely on playing NRL," he said.
"Seibs has told me there is competition for spots but if I am doing my part, then left centre is the position I will play in.
"I wouldn't say there is pressure on me. I know there is competition but I will back my ability and I am confident I will be there for round one at centre. I'm preparing and training well and looking forward to the season.
"I know last year was tough but I just want to play to my ability and contribute to the team this season. I like to pride myself on being a player that everyone wants to play with.
"I've had a good pre-season. I know I'm getting older but I'm still in good shape. Playing in the centres this year will be a good challenge for me ... I know what I can bring to the team."