Defiant Boyd ignores the noise
BRONCOS captain Darius Boyd has come out swinging at his critics, hitting back at savage attacks on his defence and leadership and insisting he won't be forced into an early retirement.
As he prepares for Brisbane's Magic Round clash against Manly on Friday night, Boyd says he is not mired in a form slump and has every intention of honouring his four-year, $3 million Broncos contract.
Boyd has been subjected to the most stinging critiques of his 13-year career this season, with Queensland Origin legend Paul Vautin labelling his defence "abysmal" after Brisbane's 36-4 loss to the Roosters last month.
Boyd, who turns 32 in July, is off-contract at the end of 2021. There are fears Boyd's body is already beginning to break down after Achilles and hamstring injuries have eroded the speed that made him Queensland and Australia's first-choice fullback just two years ago.
Boyd's former Origin teammate Greg Inglis fast-tracked his retirement last month following a chronic shoulder injury, but when asked if he plans to see out his contract, the Broncos skipper was unequivocal.
"Yes definitely," said Boyd, who plays his 301st NRL game against the Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium.
"I don't know what the outside noise is saying, but my body is really good and my form, I'm pretty happy with it.
"I spoke to 'Seibs' (Broncos coach Anthony Seibold) and he's happy with how I'm performing.
"I know if we win some games the critics will go away.
"I can be better and I'm not saying I don't have to put up my hand up and be better, because I know I do, especially as a captain, but I'm not losing sleep over my performances."
Just 12 months ago, Boyd opened up about his mortality in the NRL, admitting he would happily retire early if he didn't believe he was contributing to the Broncos.
Boyd's impressive GPS data in pre-season gave him confidence he would reprise his attacking best in 2019, but his opening two months have mirrored Brisbane's premiership free fall.
The former Maroons ace has no tries and one line-break from 640 minutes of football this season.
By comparison, Roosters rival James Tedesco has five tries, seven try assists and 47 tackle busts - 30 more than Boyd.
In defence, Boyd has produced some glaring misses. He fell for a Jesse Bromwich dummy against Melbourne in round one and failed to stop two kicks for Cody Walker's brace of tries in last week's 38-6 loss to Souths.
"There's been talk about my defence but it hasn't been that bad to be honest," he said.
"There's been a few intercepts and that's my fault, I need to fix that up and I haven't done a lot of those in the last month.
"There was a grubber on the weekend where I didn't get into position quickly enough and that wasn't from a lack of trying.
"If we won last week, my defence wouldn't have been brought up."
NRL Immortal Andrew Johns has called for Boyd to be moved to five-eighth but the skipper believes he is best suited at fullback.
"I'm open to whatever the coach wants," he said.
"There's a bit of outside pressure about changing positions but if the coach is happy with certain people, that's all that matters.
"I've always said I will do what the team needs, but I believe my best position is fullback. Moving me to another position would not suit our side."