Boyd vows to build on 'most complete' year
It will be remembered as the year in which Darius Boyd cemented his position as the game's premier custodian and emerged as a future leader of the Broncos but the 29-year-old has vowed to be even better in 2017.
Recipient of the Paul Morgan Medal as Brisbane's best for 2016 and named by David Middleton as one of the top five players of the year in the Rugby League Annual, Boyd believes that last season was the most complete of his career.
But conscious of not resting on his laurels, Boyd is preparing to increase his already impressive work ethic in order to continue to play his best football in the latter stages of his career.
Ahead of his 12th season in the Telstra Premiership Boyd said that he is approaching each season as though it could be his last, and that the key to further improvement lies in resisting the lure of any short-cuts that may present themselves on the training paddock.
"It starts here at training and pushing myself," said Boyd, who returned for day one of pre-season training on Wednesday and powered through the 'welcome back' yo-yo fitness drill.
"Sometimes when you get older and as the years go on it's probably harder to get out and train hard and give your best and that's one goal of mine for the new year. To come here to training every time and try and better myself and give it my all each time.
"Don't slacken off and take an easier option when you can maybe pull out but go again and go that extra mile.
"I know in myself mentally if I've done that on the field when it comes to playing I know I've done everything I can to prepare the best to play my best."
Elevated to the role of Queensland fullback for the first time in his decorated Origin career in 2016, the 29-year-old made it and the Kangaroos' No.1 jersey his own with his calmness at the back and brilliant decision making in attack.
But for all the plaudits he has received, he knows that reflection alone won't deliver similar results in 2017.
"I was very happy and thought it was probably my most complete year, especially with the rep side of things," he said.
"I was really happy and obviously playing fullback gave me a chance to play my preferred position and see what I could do on that stage and I was really happy with my year overall.
"As quick as you can enjoy it though it's gone now and I've got to really focus on this year and it starts today.
"I'm not getting any younger and I'm really looking forward to my last years, however many that is.
"I treat probably every year as my last so looking forward to a new year with some new players around the club. It's an exciting time."
Front-runner to be named captain of the Broncos for the 2017 season, teammates say that Boyd is someone they can always rely on and has matured into a leader at the club in the two years since he has returned to Red Hill.
"He's such a great leader and he's been showing that through the last couple of years, especially in the representative arena as well," back-rower Matt Gillett said.
"He's come a long way but there are a few other blokes here that have been at the club for a while and are great leaders at the club as well.
"I'm sure those boys will be keen to give it a shot as well."
Gillett is one of five other senior players at the club who Boyd himself nominated as potential captains for the upcoming season but admitted that it would be a great honour to lead the team out for Round 1 against the Sharks.
"It was something I probably never thought about a few years ago to be honest and probably wasn't in the position," said Boyd, who has played 247 NRL games to date.
"As a little boy I played rugby league and wanted to play just one game for the Broncos.
"If I got the captaincy it would be something I'd have to pinch myself and be pretty honoured.
"It's a huge job, it's one of – if not the biggest – in rugby league.
"To captain the Broncos with such a proud history and so many great players to have gone before and had so much success as captain… I know whoever does get the job will do a good job."