It’s been a hot-topic in rugby league for the past fortnight – the return of Darius Boyd to the Brisbane Broncos.
Following Wayne Bennett’s return to Red Hill, history would suggest it was only a matter of time until it was confirmed Darius would follow – that’s been the case for every club move Wayne’s made as Darius’ coach and mentor to date.
Is it the right move? Will it work for the Broncos? That’s anybody’s guess, and there’s no shortage of punters with a strong opinion on it.
On arrival in Brisbane, Wayne swung into action and instigated sweeping changes throughout the club – Ben Hannant, Martin Kennedy and David Hala were quietly told their services were no longer required. It was also made clear the co-captain system was destined for the bin.
Wayne’s got Anthony Milford, who’s training with Brisbane now, to partner in the halves with 2014’s wonder-kid Ben Hunt. Up front, the ink’s already dry on the signature of Kiwi international Adam Blair.
With Josh Hoffman and Ben Barba also among the list of players not written in Wayne’s 2015 playbook, Darius is cleared to move to fullback.
At the Broncos press conference the other day, we saw a different Darius altogether. Smiling, even cracking a joke or two, the Queensland and Australian international had a bit to say and didn’t try to hide his enthusiasm to play in maroon & gold once more.
“It’s something I never thought would happen because I’ve been away for a while,” Darius told the media, wearing a Brisbane jumper for the first time in over six years.
“It’s a very professional club and I’m happy to be here.”
A recent NRL.com poll had the Broncos as firm favourites for round one above the Bulldogs and the Bunnies.
Now that Bennett is back, Milford and Blair are signed and Darius has really turned a corner off the field, expectations will be higher than ever in the Sunshine State’s capital.
Come 2015, expect a side that’s endured a gruelling, revolutionary off-season training regime complete with plenty of meetings behind firmly closed doors.
With a coach far from his first rodeo, locked-down names in the halves and at fullback, the Brisbane Broncos will be aiming for nothing short of first place for next year’s footy competition.
Will we see the Darius of old? I certainly think so.
Disclosure: Paul Savage is a supporter and paid-up member of the Brisbane Broncos.