Nervous Boyd 'safe' in Broncos return
He admits there were nerves, but a desire not to let his teammates down was the driving factor behind Darius Boyd's successful return from injury against the Panthers in Round 9.
Boyd played his first game for Brisbane since the 2008 finals series after making his long-awaited comeback from a snapped Achilles two months ahead of schedule in Friday's nail-biting 8-5 victory.
The 27-year-old had previously played 73 games for the Broncos from 2006-2008, winning a premiership with the club in his maiden NRL season.
A veteran of 20 Origins and 17 Tests, the Mudgeeraba Redbacks junior has gone on to win the 2010 premiership with the Dragons, taking out the Clive Churchill Medal in the process and picking up the Dally M Fullback of the Year award during the same season.
However, what he achieved in the past with the Broncos, Dragons and Newcastle Knights was all swept aside by the time Boyd ran out onto Suncorp Stadium in front of almost 25,000 fans and situated himself underneath the posts at the Caxton Street end prior to kick-off.
"There were a lot of nerves but I was really excited too. I couldn't wait to be back and couldn’t wait to get out on the field and be a part of the team and experience the win with them," Boyd said.
"I've been nervous in the first eight weeks watching the boys go around.
"They've been going really well and I'm really grateful to be back with them."
Boyd's first involvement against the Panthers was a 10-metre run from an Andrew McCullough pass on the second tackle of Brisbane's second set of the night.
At the 13-minute mark he copped a loose arm to the head from Penrith centre Dallin Watene-Zelezniak but dusted himself off much to the relief of the Broncos faithful.
Just over 10 minute later Boyd positioned himself well at the back in order to clean up a dangerous Matt Moylan grubber kick which resulted in a line dropout.
The opposing fullbacks were at the centre of a controversial – but correct – call in the 61st minute when an innocuous kick from Boyd went over the dead ball line to seemingly earn Penrith a 20-metre tap and a seven-tackle set.
Due to Moylan not letting the ball bounce beyond the dead ball line, a line dropout was awarded to Brisbane in bizarre circumstances.
"I think I've done that myself before so it was lucky for me because I didn’t put through the best kick," Boyd said when quizzed about the incident.
By full-time the Brisbane custodian had made 16 runs for a gain of 129 metres, nothing flashy for a player of his quality but still a pleasing return for the 205-game player.
"Number one I wanted to get through the game and two, I just wanted to start well and not let the team down and not make any errors. So I was pretty happy overall," he said.
A simple, effective and mistake-free game was what mentor Wayne Bennett had been craving for his prized off-season recruit.
"[Darius] did what good pros do – he was safe, he didn’t try to star, he just wanted to get some confidence [and] get back out on the footy field," Bennett said.
"What we saw tonight is not what we'll see in four to six weeks. He started in a great manner and that's what I'm pleased about. He hasn’t come here full of errors and making plays that didn’t work and losing confidence from it.
"He'll be confident about what happened here tonight and he'll get better."