Boyd prepares for life after footy during shutdown
Broncos veteran Darius Boyd is at peace with the possibility of his NRL career being over and will shift his focus to helping society confront the mental health impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Boyd may have played his last game in the NRL following the indefinite suspension of the 2020 premiership amid the global health crisis.
Earlier this month, the 32-year-old former Brisbane Broncos captain announced he would retire from the NRL at season's end following a 15-year career.
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But there is a very real chance Boyd's last game was against South Sydney at an empty Suncorp Stadium last Friday night, such is the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
The NRL has flagged June 1 as the earliest possible resumption of the competition, but September looms as a more likely time frame and there are genuine fears it will not recommence at all in 2020.
With 319 NRL games next to his name and two premierships, Boyd said he was content with what he had achieved since debuting for the Broncos in 2006.
"It would be strange to finish this way but I'm positive about it," he told The Sunday Mail.
"I've played 300 games and done so many things in the game that I never thought possible.
"I announced my retirement because I was grateful and in a positive space. That won't really change.
"If I do miss out or don't play again I've played over 300 games.
"I'm a positive guy who has a lot of gratitude. When you look at people losing jobs and not being able to afford their next meal, I've got nothing to complain about."
Boyd debuted for the Broncos in 2006 as an 18-year-old and went on to play in the club's premiership-winning team later that year.
The 2006 triumph remains Brisbane's last NRL title, but Boyd added to his premiership tally at St George Illawarra in 2010, a grand final in which he was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for best on ground.
He made 23 Test appearances for the Kangaroos and played 28 State of Origin games for Queensland throughout a decorated career.
Boyd was planning to enjoy a retirement holiday in October this year, but there is a chance the NRL could play until December if it recommences.
Boyd said he was happy to play for as long as required in his final season and whichever club won this year's premiership would be remembered as a unique champion.
"This is my last year so I'm happy to play whenever - I'll never be playing again," he said.
"It will mean more (to win the 2020 premiership than a normal season), going through such a tough time.
"Through tough times sport can really bring society together and be really special.
"If we can get the game going when it's safe and healthy to do so, the game will thrive because it means so much to society in general."
Boyd overcame numerous personal hurdles to become one of the NRL's most-capped players ever.
Part of his battle was dealing with mental health issues and a form of depression which saw him take a break from the NRL in 2014 while at Newcastle and relaunch his career the following year at the Broncos.
Boyd has since become an ambassador for the NRL's State of Mind campaign and plans to work in the mental health space post-football.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread ramifications across the world, severely impacting economies and forcing people to self-isolate to stop the spread of the virus.
In the rugby league sphere, the game is facing the biggest financial crisis in its 112-year history and Boyd said he wanted to help those facing battles of their own.
"I've been working on life-after-footy stuff and a lot of it will be in the mental health space which is something I'm passionate about," he said.
"It's going to be needed more than ever after 2020 as a whole.
"The economy is going to be struggling, jobs will be down, it will take a while to get back to where we were before. There is going to need to be a lot of support.
"Some people are one massive hardship away from a mental breakdown. Loss of job, finances are things that trigger those instances.
"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people, not just in football, that need love, support and help through really tough times.
"We're reaching out and asking people if they're okay. We have to lean on that and need it more than ever with so many jobs lost and the economy taking a huge hit."
Boyd said he would continue to train at home during the indefinite break in the hope the NRL season recommences.
Originally published as Boyd prepares for life after footy during shutdown