Boyd's rise earns The King's approval
The Broncos' inaugural captain Wally Lewis is adamant that Darius Boyd will be a success in the role due to the long-standing and critical relationship with coach Wayne Bennett.
Boyd was unveiled as just the 10th man to be named captain of the Broncos on Tuesday and joins a list of rugby league greats to have held the post, with Lewis, Darren Lockyer, Allan Langer and Gorden Tallis also captaining their state and country.
Recalling the shy 18-year-old winger who came to Red Hill prior to the 2006 season, Lewis admitted that he never imagined that Boyd would grow into the leader he is today.
As a member of the media in his role with Channel Nine in Brisbane, over the past decade Lewis has been exposed only to the recalcitrant, dismissive personality that Boyd shouldered in public for much of his career.
As captain of the Broncos Boyd will now be subjected to an even greater level of scrutiny to which he previously shied away from but Lewis is confident that with Bennett's backing, he is up to the task.
"He comes with Bennett's recommendation! What me or 'Locky' (Lockyer) or 'Alf' (Langer) or Gorden Tallis thinks doesn't make much difference at all," Lewis told NRL.com.
"The big point with that is that these two have had an association from day one. They haven't parted company.
"They probably know more about the other bloke than they do about themselves. That's why it's been so easy for Bennett to make his mind up and for Darius to accept it.
"Their understanding is locked in place and there will not be any difficulty whatsoever with him adjusting to the position."
Given Boyd to this day doesn't know his father the relationship between he Bennett and has been the defining one of his life to date.
When the Broncos said they didn't want him after the 2008 season Bennett took him to the Dragons and after three years and a premiership the pair headed north to Newcastle together.
They both returned to the Broncos prior to the 2015 season and when Boyd failed to get through his first sentence as Broncos captain without being overcome by the emotion of the occasion, the elder introvert intervened to give him a moment to compose himself.
Bennett is immensely protective of all of his players but even he admitted on Tuesday that Boyd had been forced to fight through more than most to reach this point in his career.
"We've all got a journey and we've all got to our stations in life by different things that have happened to us but his was a lot tougher than a lot of us," Bennett said.
"That makes it remarkable. The way he's come through it and the way we all see him today, from the boy that turned up here and the boy that went to Palm Beach Currumbin is no comparison.
"That's what makes it remarkable."
Knowing his personality so well, Bennett gave Boyd 12 months to digest the notion that he would captain the club that he had supported since he was six years of age, confident in the knowledge he would be ready when the time came.
Boyd himself wasn't so sure that day would ever come but last year worked closely with the Rugby League Players Association and took on a role as a mental health ambassador with the NRL to become comfortable in leading the next generation.
It still doesn't come easily but the 29-year-old will at least begin the 2017 Telstra Premiership knowing he has the tools to handle whatever is thrown at him.
"It was something that I probably wrestled with for a while," Boyd said.
"I wasn't sure if I was the right person, if I could do it and do a good job. I don't want to be here and not do a good job.
"I want to make sure I lead the team well and into the future and leave it in good hands.
"It's a proud club and it's the club I've always loved since a kid and I couldn't be more honoured to be honest.
"With the last few years and the things I've changed and turned around, it's something that I never thought was possible.
"To be the Broncos captain – there haven't been many before us – and to be here now I'm very humbled."