Darius Boyd might be in the midst of what Queensland great Wally Lewis calls the “worst-performing” Broncos team in club history, but there is some hope Boyd and his teammates can salvage what has been a nightmare farewell season.
Boyd has achieved almost every major feat in the game of rugby league.
He’s played over 300 NRL games, earned 23 caps for the Kangaroos, and scored 17 tries in 28 appearances for the Queensland Maroons.
And at the end of this NRL season he will be the very last player of Brisbane’s 2006 Premiership-winning team to retire, which was the last time the Broncos lifted the Provan-Summons Trophy.
However Boyd’s final year before he hangs up the boots has been anything but a fairytale ending.
From the COVID-19 pandemic shaking up rugby league in an unprecedented fashion, to the Broncos experiencing an awful slump that has them languishing at the bottom of the NRL ladder, it’s been a season to forget for the Brisbane club.
Even though it’s far from perfect however, there is light at the end of the tunnel this season, according to Broncos legend and board member Darren Lockyer.
“I just hope they do win some [games] so that when [Boyd] does finish his career, he’s got something to hold onto, not a season from hell,” Lockyer told Wide World of Sports’ QLDER.
“At the moment that’s what it is, but the next seven weeks can, probably not rectify that, but it can change the way he leaves the game.”
Lockyer has noticed that Boyd has relished his return to the fullback position and he believes that shift could be key to getting the Broncos’ spine firing again in the second half of the season.
“You can see the last couple of weeks going back to fullback it’s reinvigorated his energy and he’s wanting to make a difference,” Lockyer explained.
“Winning is what brings back the fun to footy. So he’s trying really hard to get the team where they need to be to win footy games.”
This week 2016 premiership-winner Paul Gallen said it appeared as though Boyd couldn’t wait for the 2020 season to end, but league great Lewis said the 33-year-old Bronco is probably not alone in that regard.
“Darius is the only one that can answer that question truthfully. I also go back a week and remember how inspired he looked every time that he was playing well,” Lewis said on QLDER.
“You could just see that he wanted to go ahead with it.
“At the moment he’s just like a lot of the guys in the team. They’re down, they’re out, and they’ve got many games to try and repair their game.”
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Lewis wants to see Boyd be able to retire “with his head held high” but he did not mince words in summing up Brisbane’s current woes, and noted that the issues begin at training every week.
‘The King’ said what he had witnessed at Broncos training was not quite right.
“You can’t ignore the fact that Brisbane are probably right in the middle of the worst performance they’ve had in their club’s history – there’s no doubt about that,” Lewis said.
“There are times [at training] where it’s confusing as to what’s happening out on the field. There doesn’t appear to be much creativity about it, in following the plan, which is normally the regular game pattern, and it’s unusual to try and work out exactly what is going on out there.”
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Lewis said that regardless of how the season ends for Boyd, he was reminded of his own rugby league career that ended with a lacklustre 1992 season as captain and coach of the Gold Coast Seagulls.
“Yeh, it was [tough]. I felt that it wasn’t quite the way I wanted to finish up,” he said.
“If I had the chance to make a decision all over again it wouldn’t be to be captain and coach. It was one of those things.
“We don’t all get the opportunity to be able to say let’s change it all over again and finish the right way. We can’t make a great choice after its all done, but there were several things I probably wish I could have changed and that was one that I regard as probably the biggest mistake that I made in football – taking on the captain-coach role.”