Darius Boyd can salvage the end of his career by moving back to the wing for Brisbane, former Test and Origin teammate Johnathan Thurston says.
Boyd will retire after this season but could suffer the indignity of ending his 300-game career on the sideline if his form doesn’t lift.
Having been moved to left centre after withering at fullback and five-eighth, Boyd is on the brink of being axed in the midst of a six-game Broncos losing streak.
Thurston told Wide World of Sports that Boyd could be saved by shifting him outwards, while also pushing phenom Xavier Coates closer to the ball.
“I’ve played a lot of football with ‘Darbs’ obviously and he’s been outside one of the greatest centres of all time in ‘GI’ (Greg Inglis),” Thurston said on QLDER.
“He was a known fullback, they’ve experimented with him at six as well. Defending at centre, it’s a specialist position when you’re defending and you need to come up with the right defensive movements to those around you.
“You need to know when to jam, you need to know when to use the sideline, and that’s where Darius has probably struggled, defending in the centres.
“He’s represented Australia on the wing and obviously the Maroons. I think if they maybe put him on the wing and Coates in the centres and see what he can do in the centres; just given him some early ball and hopefully he can spark something in attack.”
Boyd’s 17 State of Origin tries for Queensland trail only Inglis’ record of 18. All but one of those tries were scored on the wing and he scored 11 of his 16 Test tries as a winger.
Boyd hasn’t played much time on the wing at NRL level; just 37 games early in his career, more than 200 fewer than he’s played at fullback. However, he boasts a decent strike rate, having scored 20 tries on the flank.
He has played 31 games at centre for eight tries but as Thurston explained, has been a defensive liability. It was flagged in pre-season that wing may be the most likely spot for Boyd to end his career.