Darius Boyd will line up in the centres. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Darius Boyd will line up in the centres. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Boyd set for centre stage

BRONCOS coach Wayne Bennett says Darius Boyd is likely to finish the season at centre in a move that could scupper his hopes of returning to his beloved fullback position.

Bennett dropped a bombshell last week by axing Boyd as his fullback and the Broncos skipper was retained in the centres for Thursday night's clash against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.

Just 12 months ago, Boyd was the pre-eminent fullback for the Broncos and Queensland, but recent hamstring injuries have raised concerns about his body's capacity to handle high mileage in the backfield.

Young gun Jamayne Isaako, who shifted from wing to fullback against Penrith last week, will wear the No.1 jumper against former club Cronulla and Bennett believes Boyd can flourish in the centres.

"Darius will probably finish the season there (at centre)," Bennett said.

"Darius is still capable of playing fullback but right now he is what we need in the centres. Things could change but I'm happy with the job he did for us last week."

Boyd's positional shift could be viewed as a kick in the guts for the club's most powerful player, but the Broncos skipper is adopting a team-first mentality in pursuit of Brisbane's first title in 12 years.

If he’s not retiring, Boyd just has to get on with it. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
If he’s not retiring, Boyd just has to get on with it. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

While admitting he prefers to play fullback, the 31-year-old says a move into the frontline could help his career in his twilight years.

Boyd's former Queensland Origin teammate Greg Inglis won a premiership at Souths at fullback in 2014 before shifting to the centres.

Asked if playing centre could prolong his career, Boyd, who is contracted until the end of 2021, said: "I don't see why not.

"It (retirement) is not something I am looking at, I will know when the time is right. It might be the mind before the body (that convinces him to quit), but I am enjoying my role at the moment.

"Fullback is my best position but I am happy wherever I play.

"The Broncos have given me a lot and I owe them a lot, I am grateful to finish my career here and whatever it takes to be successful I am happy with.

"If that means me playing centre to get the best out of this team, so be it."

Boyd said the perception that fullbacks work harder than centres was shot down by his statistical output against the Panthers.

"I asked the training staff the other day and they said I did almost as much running (at centre) as I did at fullback," he said.

"I am probably more of a defensive centre than an attacking centre, I try to lead with our kick chase. I probably didn't have as many involvements (at centre) but my running in terms of metres was basically the same."

 

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