Defiant Boyd won’t give in to critics
Besieged Broncos captain Darius Boyd says he will not be pressured into retirement and has assured Brisbane fans the club is not in crisis as the skipper pledged to lead a recovery mission next season.
As the fallout continues from Brisbane's 58-0 finals collapse to Parramatta - the worst loss in the club's history - Boyd opened up to The Courier-Mail about his future and how the Broncos restore credibility in 2020.
The Broncos skipper had a nightmare afternoon at Bankwest Stadium, with Eels winger Blake Ferguson setting the tone when he trampled Boyd to create the first line-break in the 11-try carve-up.
Boyd has been buffeted by incessant calls for him to retire this year, but the 32-year-old has hit back at his critics, insisting he hasn't played his last game for the Broncos.
BOYD is contracted until the end of next year. He has a clause in his contract that he must play a minimum of 15 games in 2020 to trigger a further 12-month extension for 2021.
The skipper's dismal display at five-eighth against the Eels has sparked fresh calls for Boyd to walk away immediately, but the 317-game NRL stalwart has made it clear he will report for another Broncos pre-season in December.
"I'm definitely playing on next year," he said.
"I need to get better myself. I had a change of positions (from fullback to five-eighth this year), so I think another pre-season there (at pivot) can help.
"Having a pre-season at five-eighth would be good. The last 10 weeks with me and 'Turps' (Jake Turpin) as makeshift halves, we managed to get into the finals.
"Obviously it was on the back of a strong forward pack and young outside backs, but me and Turps did our best and we can get better as well."
BRONCOS playmaking great Darren Lockyer recently suggested Boyd could benefit from finishing his career in the centres.
Boyd, who turns 33 next July, is open to another positional move, but says he has embraced the nuances of five-eighth play and believes his NRL experience can complement 18-year-old halfback Tom Dearden, who returns next year from an ankle injury.
Asked if he would consider moving to centre, Boyd said: "I'll talk about that next year, but I've always been a team guy and I will play wherever.
"Whatever the coach (Anthony Seibold) thinks is best, I will support that, but I've enjoyed five-eighth.
"There's been challenges and ups and downs. But I've enjoyed leading the team (at five-eighth), implementing game plans, and talking with the rest of the spine about what we want to achieve each week.
"Whatever happens next year, I'm ready to go."
ANTHONY Seibold now has the worst defeat in Brisbane's 31-year history on his resume.
His five-year contract with Brisbane expires at the end of 2023, but Seibold will be fighting for his job if the Broncos suffer another capitulation next season.
Seibold implemented a youth policy this year, blooding eight rookies in the NRL, headlined by Dearden, Pat Carrigan, Xavier Coates and Herbie Farnworth, and Boyd believes Wayne Bennett's successor is the right man to find solutions.
" 'Seibs' has a long-term job here so he has time to work with this group and help them learn from their mistakes and things we can improve on," Boyd said.
"I don't think he has to turn things around. We made the finals. Eight other teams would have wanted to be in our position.
"We had a lot of change this year. Seibs has been great on and off the field. He cares about the players and has some great tactics and strategies on the field.
"Seibs will say he wants to take responsibility (for the Eels defeat) but us players need to take responsibility, too.
"We are the ones who go out on the field every day. I was confident with Seibs' game plan. The coach can say things, but the players have to go out there and have a want and desire."
BOYD does not believe the Broncos have a cultural problem, but he concedes the playing group lacks resilience and must get mentally tougher.
The Broncos lost five of six games on Sydney soil this season, leaking 222 points at a shocking average of 37 points per game.
"I don't think there's an issue with the club, it's just attention to detail in key areas," Boyd said.
"It was embarrassing to lose like that. It wasn't acceptable and we have to learn from our mistakes and realise what went wrong.
"In our worst games this season, we have let games slide and we have fallen away. We need to be more resilient in key moments and some of that might be because we are a young group.
"Until you play finals football, you don't understand how tough it is. A few guys had their first seasons this year, but this (recovering next season) is a job for the leaders to work on."
BOYD accepts Brisbane's last hurrah in 2019 was embarrassing but is adamant the club has a nucleus of young guns that will make the Broncos competitive for the next decade.
"As far as the season goes, there are some positives and things to be proud of," he said.
"We got written off early in the year, there was a lot of adversity and scrutiny, but we still pulled through to make the finals.
"We've developed guys like David Fifita, Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan, Tom Flegler, Xavier Coates, Herbie Farnworth and Tom Dearden. The club is in good hands and I hope the fans understand that and see that."