Darius Boyd (centre) barks orders at a Broncos training session as coach Wayne Bennett (left) watches on.
Darius Boyd (centre) barks orders at a Broncos training session as coach Wayne Bennett (left) watches on. GLENN HUNT

Boyd hints at coaching move as Broncos deal beckons

RUGBY LEAGUE: Is Wayne Bennett's coaching successor running around for Brisbane this week?

Perhaps he is.

Ahead of his return from a thumb injury, Darius Boyd has revealed in an exclusive interview with foxsports.com.au, he has a desire to coach once his playing career with the Broncos has finished.

On the verge of penning a new four-year deal that will see him finish his career at the Broncos, Boyd and his manager are nutting out the final details of the deal that heavily focuses on his plans post-football.

While Boyd admits he's yet to discuss his coaching plans with the super coach himself, passing on the skills he's acquired over his 13 years at the top level is a desire that continues to grow.

Broncos fullback Darius Boyd looks to pass the ball during a training run this week.
Broncos fullback Darius Boyd looks to pass the ball during a training run this week. GLENN HUNT

"It's hard to say where I'll go with coaching. It's something I'm interested in and think I'll be good at,” Boyd told foxsports.com.au.

"There's a lot of pressure as a player let alone as a coach but some sort of positional coaching would appeal to me.

"I would never say never because things do change but at this stage doing some backs coaching is of interest.

"It's developed recently as I've got older and become a leader.

"A lot of our senior players take more ownership of how we train and extras. Leadership boys will take younger players through specific skills.

"It would only be natural to do something like that in life after football if the opportunity presents itself.”

Using former teammate Justin Hodges' transition from the park to the office as the blueprint for life after footy, the Gold Coast product has no shortage of interests.

Kayla Boyd, the wife of Broncos captain Darius Boyd, with their daughter Willow.
Kayla Boyd, the wife of Broncos captain Darius Boyd, with their daughter Willow. DAN PELED

Aside from an interest in coaching and media work, Boyd has plans to begin a career in the mental health space.

Having dealt with his own struggles and come out the other side, the fullback is set to begin studying his Cert 4 in mental health in the coming weeks.

"It's something that will be worked into my new contract with the club,” he said.

"There's a lot of positive things on the horizon. I'm looking forward to playing out my career with the club and then after football there's some exciting opportunities.

"Mental health is a big one. Doing work in the community with businesses, schools, junior clubs and State of Mind. That's a big one I'll be heavily involved in.”

At 30, Boyd's time at the Broncos has gone full circle.

After debuting for Brisbane in 2006, he was not offered a new deal by the club, with that snub influencing his decision to move to St George Illawarra in 2009.

The best part of a decade after leaving, he's back captaining the club. Fair to say it's been a rollercoaster career in the maroon and gold.

"We have trust and respect,” he said of his relationship with coach Bennett and CEO Paul White.

"Wayne and Whitey are quality people. They've been open and honest with me the whole time.

"You always know where you stand. I didn't get offered a contract the last time I was at the Broncos but to their credit, they let me know and told me in person. While it was disappointing, they told me up front and didn't leave me in limbo.

"Things have definitely changed and now I'm in a different scenario and very positive one.

"I know that I'm not going anywhere. I know the club's looking after me and I'm very grateful to be staying at the club.

"I'm happy here and very proud to be at this club and can't wait to play a few years and finish my career here.”

With Cronulla star Jack Bird joining the Broncos next season, there's been plenty of speculation around what the future looks like for Boyd.

Cronulla's Jack Bird will join the Brisbane Broncos in season 2018.
Cronulla's Jack Bird will join the Brisbane Broncos in season 2018. JULIAN SMITH

A possible move to the halves has been tossed up and while the skipper is happy to do whatever is in the best interest of the team, he believes his "best position is fullback”.

On face value, Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford might not appear the traditional halves pairing; it's a combination Boyd has faith in and he says he doesn't need to wear the six or seven on his back to help run the show.

"These days the way the fullback is involved, he can stand behind the ruck and dictate a fair few things,” Boyd said.

"I have taken that on a little bit more and called some shots. We have some younger halves, myself and Andrew McCullough help them out where we can.

"As long as someone is calling the shots it doesn't matter if you have a couple of ball runners.”

Kodi Nikorima is expected to get first shot at the Brisbane Broncos No.7 jersey in 2018.
Kodi Nikorima is expected to get first shot at the Brisbane Broncos No.7 jersey in 2018. GLENN HUNT

Bennett has been vocal in his support of Nikorima being given the first crack at replacing St George Illawarra-bound half Ben Hunt.

While he's spent the bulk of his NRL career at hooker, Nikorima is a jack of all trades and convinced Boyd in just a handful of games with the No.7 on his back that he can fill the role in 2018.

"We had Ben Hunt miss five weeks and Kodi came in and did a great job,” Boyd said.

"We won every game with Kodi at half. On the weekend he played halfback and he was one of our top three players.

"For me his best position would be in the halves or at fullback. He's so skilful.

"He knows how to follow a game plan. Kodi and Milf grew up playing together and work well together. It's exciting times for our club, for sure.”

Darius Boyd (left) discusses his injured thumb with Broncos coach Wayne Bennett at training.
Darius Boyd (left) discusses his injured thumb with Broncos coach Wayne Bennett at training. GLENN HUNT

On Friday night Boyd turns out against Parramatta in his return from a broken thumb suffered in Origin II while attempting to tackle future teammate Bird.

While he'll wear a protective guard on his hand this weekend, it's more of a mental hurdle he needs to overcome with this injury.

"I'll be padded up and have a guard on it,” he said.

"It's more of a mental thing. While it's sore I got the all clear from the doctor last week when I got the pins taken out.

"I'll like to have some padding around it so it's safe and secure but I don't reckon I'll be wearing it for the rest of the year.”



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