Boyd to channel former Maroons greats
Darius Boyd will channel the memories of Darren Lockyer and the expertise of Billy Slater to ensure he starts his new life as Queensland's fullback in the best possible fashion on Wednesday night.
Boyd's 24th Origin appearance will be his first at his preferred position of fullback and he is fully aware of the importance of his role in the Maroons' quest to register a win in Game One of the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series.
As a youngster growing up on the Gold Coast Boyd would marvel at the way Darren Lockyer linked with his outside men and is using the presence of Slater in Maroons camp this week to nail the areas a fullback and his wingers need to get right in the Origin arena.
With another new-look Blues halves combination Boyd said the primary role he and his wingers Dane Gagai and debutant Corey Oates will be to nullify the kicking games of Adam Reynolds, James Maloney and Robbie Farah and he said they will lean on Slater for all his experience.
"Bill has been great the last couple of days just trying to get us back three really catching those balls on the full and our positioning and really working on having a strong start to our sets," Boyd said.
"If we can get those balls on the full and get us back into good field position it's going to be good for the team to stay up their end to try and attack their line.
"We'll have to do some homework [on the Blues kickers] but we've got Bill there and Bill is probably one of the best if not the best at catching balls on the full and being in great position so I'm sure he'll be able to give us some tips.
"Origin is so much about field position and controlling the game and if we can catch the ball on the full and getting it back past the 20 or 30-metre line it's really going to set up our sets so we can have some attacking options later in that tackle count and even putting up some attacking kicks for ourselves."
In camp with the squad as a member of Kevin Walters' coaching staff, Slater believes that the appointment of Boyd and shift of Greg Inglis back to the centres gives the team a more complete look.
"'Darbs' has been playing really good for his club. I think he's taken his game to a new level, especially defensively," said Slater, who has played 22 games at fullback for Queensland.
"He's a great communicator at the back and it just suits the balance of our team.
"I like the fact that Greg is in the front line, he can get up there and make a few tackles and he's an aggressive defender as well."
Boosted also by his selection for the Kangaroos last month, there is little doubt that Boyd is currently the best fullback in the game.
His return to Brisbane two years ago, coming back from an Achilles tendon injury and improved mental state have contributed to the development of not only Boyd as a player but also as a person.
His conduct with the media could not be more starkly different than his last run-in after Game Three in 2014 in front of the team hotel and he said that his skills as a communicator have also improved on the field.
"I've definitely added that to my game as I've gotten older and learnt from guys like Billy and the halves and 'Smithy' (Cameron Smith) in these types of teams," said the 28-year-old who cited Lockyer as his favourite Queensland custodian.
"You see how much they lead from the front, how much they talk, how important it is and I think over the years I've really picked up that side of my game and my defensive side.
"I've gotten better at that and I think I've matured as a person and getting older and more experienced in footy circles as well."