Darius buoyed by new role
Broncos fullback Darius Boyd says he is excited at the prospect of donning the Kangaroos No.1 jersey for the first time since 2011 when Australia takes on the Kiwis in Newcastle on Friday night.
It's a position he has only played three times for his country, and the first time he will do so in front of home fans.
Boyd scored tries in 2010 against the Kiwis and 2011 against the Welsh in the No.1 jersey before filling in at the back for Australian legend Darren Lockyer's final international match against England at Elland Road.
With regular fullback Billy Slater out with a season-ending shoulder injury, Boyd fought off stiff competition from several high-quality custodians in what he described as "one of the proudest moments" of his career.
"I played a couple of games there when Billy was injured overseas," Boyd told NRL.com following his side's 30-28 loss to the Sharks on Sunday afternoon.
"To get picked first up for the Anzac Test at fullback makes me very happy and proud especially as you get older.
"There are a lot of quality players who are playing great like Tedesco (Tigers fullback James Tedesco) and Dugan (Dragons custodian Josh Dugan).
"Greg (South Sydney No.1 Greg Inglis) is a freak of an athlete as well. I'm glad to just be in the team but to be playing fullback makes it extra special for me."
Boyd will be joined in the Kangaroos side by fellow Broncos Matt Gillett, Corey Parker, Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday when they face the Kiwis on Friday night.
The 28-year-old weighed into the debate brought up by his club coach Wayne Bennett that the Test team shouldn't have been announced on Tuesday.
The master coach argued the earlier than normal announcement had affected his players' minds leading into – and during – Sunday's game.
"I suppose for some of the guys who haven’t been here before it may be a bit tougher, but most of us have either been picked in these squad before or you kind of know if you're there or thereabouts anyway," Boyd said.
"At the end of the day, if you're playing footy you should be able to get the job done no matter the situation."
The Broncos' early-season form also resulted in a number of players being picked to play for the Kiwis.
Jordan Kahu, Kodi Nikorima and Adam Blair were all selected by Kiwis coach – and Broncos assistant coach – Stephen Kearney to face the Kangaroos in the Downer Test Match, and Boyd said their inside knowledge could be crucial.
Boyd is looking forward to the challenge of taking on his clubmates, but said he would try to steer clear of Blair who returns from a one-game suspension.
"I think it's always good to play against your mates because it makes it a bit more special," the Kangaroos custodian said.
"I'm sure he'll be fired up because he missed this week so he'll be fresh and ready to go.
"I'm sure that [inside knowledge] will be a bit of an advantage for them. We've got five boys in the team so I'm sure he'll know everyone's weaknesses and what they can pick on. But we've got a quality side so I'm sure we can overcome that."