Battling Boyd faces biggest test of his career
BRONCOS legend Wendell Sailor says Darius Boyd faces the biggest test of his NRL career and has challenged the besieged Brisbane skipper to prove him wrong by producing a captain's knock against Manly on Friday.
Boyd runs on to Suncorp Stadium for his 301st top-grade game as a leader under siege amid stinging critiques of his captaincy, defensive application and whether he can survive another two years in the NRL.
Boyd has come out swinging at his critics, insisting he is not mired in a form slump, but a candid Sailor disagrees and believes D-Day has arrived for Brisbane's most experienced current player.
A 189-game Broncos wing icon, Sailor blasted the mental toughness of coach Anthony Seibold's troops and turned up the heat on Boyd to lead Brisbane's resurgence - starting tonight against Manly in the Magic Round.
"It's time for the captain to lead from the front," said Sailor, who won three titles at Brisbane and played alongside Boyd at the Dragons in 2009.
"I've played with Darius, he's a good mate of mine and I wish him all the best, but this is Darius' biggest test as a player.
"He says he's not playing too bad. I beg to differ, but the team needs leadership and that's where Darius and Anthony Milford have to come in.
"Darius Boyd need to lead from the front and if he does that, the rest of the young blokes will follow."
Renowned as one of the code's finest try-assist exponents in three-on-two situations, Boyd has struggled to find his attacking mojo in the opening two months.
The 31-year-old has just two try assists, one line break and no tries from 640 minutes of football.
His last-line defence has been savaged by critics, but Broncos coach Seibold is adamant Boyd is not a spent force.
"Darius is probably an easy target," he said.
"Any fullback in the competition is an easy target because any error that you make is magnified 10-fold because you are there by yourself.
"Darius is doing some really good things in some areas of his game and there are things he wants to work on and improve.
"The thing about Darius is that he is a great professional and works really hard at training.
"It is my job to point out the areas that he can be better. We have constant communication.
"Darius is our captain and the best option at fullback at the moment. I love his attitude."
Sailor is not convinced that attitude spreads across a Broncos team languishing in the bottom four with a 2-6 record.
"Some of the Broncos players need a good look at themselves and understand why they are being paid the big bucks," he said.
"In close games, they are showing a lack of mental toughness. They need to buy into the coach's program and at the moment they aren't doing it."