Boyd Injury Snaps Bronco’s Pre-Season Hopes For 2015

Darius Boyd’s unfortunate accident at Broncos training has left Brisbane without their star recruit for most if not all of the 2015 NRL season

‘I want You Back’ by the Jackson 5 and ‘Baby Come Back’ by Player are songs one could assume are running through Wayne Bennett’s head after Darius Boyd’s unfortunate accident at Broncos training, which has left Brisbane without their star recruit for most if not all of 2015. A ruptured Achilles has sent Boyd to surgery while surely even the super coach had a minor coronary. After all he did get rid of 2012 Dally M winner Ben Barba and New Zealand international Josh Hoffman to make way for his new fullback! I wonder what those 2 players are thinking now? I’m sure they’d both be feeling terribly sorry for Wayne.

Who’ll Play Fullback is Number 1 Problem?

In keeping with the music theme, Little Peggy March’s classic ‘I Will Follow Him’ best describes Bennett and Boyd’s relationship. The latter has followed the coach to every club he’s been too since leaving Brisbane; from the Dragons to Newcastle and now back to the Broncos. But Boyd’s return to Red Hill meant men had to go. Barba and Hoffman both made way so Darius could squeeze under the salary cap and slot into fullback. Had either one of the pair remained; a ready made replacement at the back would have been on hand.

Canberra recruit Anthony Milford looks a likely replacement having played most of his NRL career at fullback but Brisbane’s boss has indicated his intentions to use the young gun at five-eighth. Greg Eden is a candidate to fill the custodian role. The new Broncos recruit has spent most of his 68 games in Super League hovering in the outside backs, but the 23 year old now has an opportunity to impress in pre-season and try and take the number 1 jersey.

But in all likelihood Hodgo will be handed the number 1 shirt.

Justin Hodges showed just how elusive he can be at the back end of the 2014 season with a classy cameo at custodian. In a handful of games he scored tries topped the assists and was Brisbane’s best player. With soft hands and silky skills he’s first in line to be the first name on the team sheet.

When will Boyd be Back?

As he was going to ground in agony on Friday, Darius Boyd knew he’d suffered a devastating injury. As he turned sharply in an innocuous training drill the 27 year old said

“It felt like he’d been kicked in the back of the foot but knew there was nobody around him”.

Andrew McCullough was running alongside Boyd when the fullback suddenly hit the turf and the Broncos hooker heard a ‘pop.’ McCullough described the sound as a ‘boot hitting another boot’. This however was not the case.

A philosophical Wayne Bennett (who’s never been one to give a paragraph when a simple sentence is required) was short and sweet in describing the event.

“It’s the Achilles. My initial thought is that’s footy, that’s life, we get on with it,”

His words have been echoed by Boyd in recent days although the Queensland and Australian star gave a little more away than his coach.

“It’s disheartening and it’ll be tough work to get back. But I’ll be stronger and more determined to get back and play for the Broncos again.”

The early diagnosis is that Boyd will be out for six to nine months, marking a return date anywhere between June and September. But there is no guarantee he’ll return to the playing field in 2015. The man who’s likely to fill Boyd’s void has ruptured his Achilles twice with last year being the most recent occasion. The first time Justin Hodges did it was in January 2010, during pre-season and he missed the entire campaign that year.

If Boyd is back before the season ends what sort of shape will he be in and will Brisbane still be in contention for the finals? If Darius does play next year the Broncos won’t want to be relying on him to have an instant impact on his return. Ahead for Boyd is hours upon hours in the gym and a variety of activities and exercises he’ll likely be doing on his own. So the questions remain and answers won’t come right away. Will Boyd recover in time to feature in 2015? How much will the Broncos miss him? Or will Wayne’s decision to send Hoffman and Barba on their way ultimately be the right call anyway?