Darius Boyd is back for Broncos
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has urged Maroons selectors to take a "wait and see" approach to Darius Boyd's Origin prospects after it was confirmed the fullback will make his return for the club against the Panthers at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Having injured his Achilles tendon in pre-season training back in December, Boyd was considered a long shot to be fit in time for Game One of the 2015 State of Origin Series but has been given the all-clear by medical staff five months after the injury occurred.
That is at the minimum end for recovery times for Achilles tendon injuries but after completing Thursday's captain's run and scoring the ceremonial try under the posts to signal the end of the session, Bennett confirmed that the 27-year-old would make his first appearance for the Broncos since the 2008 Finals Series.
"The doctor said when he felt really good to let him play and he's at that point now," Bennett said.
"He's had no hiccups in his rehab, it's all gone perfectly, he's a very diligent person of course and a very committed guy and he's made it work as well. The staff have been outstanding with him so a combination of all those things, a bit of luck, no hiccups and he's back in five months.
"We always sensed he was on schedule and about a month ago when he started doing some ball work and running with the team that went without a hiccup."
Boyd will now have two games in which to convince Maroons coach Mal Meninga that he will be fit to take his place in Origin I in Sydney on May 27 with Meninga publicly stating his intent to pick Boyd if he played even a single game.
In confirming his return, Bennett warned that his best football is still at least a month away and that Meninga should monitor his performances over the next fortnight before locking him in on the Maroons' left wing for what would be his 21st appearance for Queensland.
"I just expect him to do his job tomorrow night and if he does that everything else will be fine," said Bennett.
"We won't see the best of him for a month or so but it's a start and he'll do his job tomorrow night, I know that and we'll get the benefits a bit later on.
"Everyone will be a lot wiser tomorrow night after he plays where he's at.
"Mal might have said that (that he intends to pick Boyd) but if he's not playing well then he's not going to play well in an Origin game I can tell you, if his form's not good going into it.
"Let's just wait and see."
Their opponents on Friday night, the Panthers, would love to receive some similarly good news with both Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace again expected to be missing from the Penrith line-up as the pair continue their rehab from injury.
Coming off a last-start win over the Sharks, Bennett said that Penrith remain a dangerous proposition while ever Matt Moylan is in the team.
"They're obviously having some injury problems with some key players at the moment but that doesn't diminish what they can do," said Bennett, who has won 10 of 14 games against Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.
"They beat Cronulla last week who had won three or four in a row so the competition's that close that you know the guys stepping into their place can get the job done and you've got to be on your game and hopefully that's what the Broncos will be tomorrow night.
"Certainly Moylan is a very good player and is a real key for them, particularly with Wallace and Soward missing.
"He's a wonderful player, I had him in the All Stars, he's very talented and got a good knowledge of the game so he's the one we're going to have to make sure we keep out of the game as much as we can."