Boyd rules himself out of Panthers clash
Brisbane Broncos captain Darius Boyd made the decision himself to not play in Friday night's semi-final against the Penrith Panthers.
Battling a hamstring injury all week, Boyd looked for all money like he would line-up for his side on Friday after completing Thursday's captain's run at Suncorp Stadium.
But he had fooled the onlookers, approaching coach Wayne Bennett just minutes before he was due to face the media to tell him the bad news.
Bennett passed on the information to the media scrum, catching many off guard.
It was the mature decision from Boyd who could not run at 100 per cent, meaning he could also not guarantee that he would make it through 80 minutes of finals football.
Instead Boyd will again watch from the sidelines, with Kodi Nikorima to start at fullback and Benji Marshall to start at halfback.
That is how the team was initially named last week but Bennett decided to make a switch before kick-off, moving Nikorima to the bench and playing David Mead at the back.
It did not pay off, with Mead coming off after 20 minutes and Brisbane losing by two points in what was a thrilling qualifying final.
Bennett has promised no such switches this week, guaranteeing that Nikorima will be the Broncos fullback come kick-off.
"Darius virtually finished the session but he just doesn't feel he will be at his best and it is important for him to be at his best in the position that he plays. It was his call," Bennett said.
"Benji will start and I'll stick with Nikorima at fullback.
"It's the right call if he doesn't feel like he can perform at his best. I'd rather that than him going out there and letting everybody down. He's not running at full speed."
Boyd will be hoping his teammates can start a lot better than they did against the Roosters after trailing 14-0 in the early stages of that contest.
Penrith are sure to come out hard and high on confidence after disposing of the Manly Sea Eagles last start – a performance that has Bennett and his Broncos side on notice.
"I'm confident. We have trained well. They've been really good this week so that's all I can ask. We just have to wait for Friday night now," he said.
"Penrith will be good. They'll be trying hard after and up and down type of season. There are only six teams left in the competition so they have a lot to play for."
In what is another blow for Brisbane, enforcer Tevita Pangai Junior has also been officially ruled out with a hamstring injury.