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Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and captain Darius Boyd.

"You're with me."

With those three words Wayne Bennett encapsulated the coach/player relationship he has had with Darius Boyd at three clubs for 12 NRL seasons.

From the Broncos to the Dragons, then Knights and back to Brisbane, ever since 2006 the coach has had his trusty right-hand man by his side.

As Bennett reflected on what has been one of the most enduring liaisons in rugby league history between a coach and a player he pointed to a pivotal moment at the end of 2008 when the partnership was most at risk.

Brisbane Broncos 2017 Season in Review

"Initially the Broncos didn't want him. I told him to go over to the office and get a new contract when I was leaving but he came back with tears in his eyes, and crying, and saying. 'they don't want me',' Bennett told

"The coach and the CEO at the time didn't want him so I said 'you're with me'.

"That is all I said to him. I didn't know where I was going at that time but he came with me to the Dragons … and he's still with me.

"His contracts have been tied up with mine and it has all worked out good.

"It has been a close bond. I've had a lot of those. I value them, and I still do."

I felt I could trust him and he would be there for me if I needed him. That is the way it has panned out ever since.

Darius Boyd on Wayne Bennett

Boyd said it was "pretty crazy the way it all worked out", but almost a decade on Bennett's words "you're with me" still strike a poignant chord with the Brisbane captain.

He recalled having one year to go on his deal at the end of 2008 but after visiting Broncos staff was left with few options, until Bennett's welcoming words.

"They said after that last year they wouldn't re-sign me so if I had an opportunity to go somewhere else I should take it," Boyd said.

"It was late in the season and I had an opportunity to go to the Bulldogs because Sonny Bill had left.

"That's when Wayne said 'you're with me' and I went with him to the Dragons.

"I really respected him as a coach and what he had done for me. I felt I could trust him and he would be there for me if I needed him. That is the way it has panned out ever since."

Broncos skipper Darius Boyd.
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos/NRL Photos

The right word from Bennett at the right time has provided clarity Boyd for more than a decade now.

He is a reflective soul and words spoken by his mentor have struck a chord and inspired him.

"I'm a thinker. I probably over-think things at times," Boyd said.

"Wayne might say something before a team meeting or before a game that is really motivational.

"They are things I have thought about for a long period of time and based my whole career around, just things that he has said and done.

"They might relate to being grateful in life, being lucky to put on the jersey or just how to deal with the situation you are in. It can be something totally away from football that you can then relate to anything in your life.

"That is why I always thought that if I was going to be the best rugby league player I could be, I'd do it under Wayne. While he has wanted me to play for him, I've always wanted to play under him."

Boyd grew up without a father figure in his household and in many respects Bennett has filled the breach and been a moral compass through some tough times.

"Wayne is known for being a man manager and turning young rugby league players into adults and men," Boyd said.

"I didn't have a lot of people in my life to really listen to or to be told what is right and wrong. So when I was younger having someone like Wayne giving me a little pep talk on things that I could relate to my own life is something I really valued."

Boyd has signed a four-year extension until the end of 2021 which will see him finish his career at the Broncos. Bennett is signed until the end of 2019 but could well keep going until Boyd's deal runs out.

If that is the case the Broncos fullback will play his entire career under the one coach at three different clubs.

"I have a lot to be grateful to Wayne for," Boyd said.

"Wayne gave me my first-grade debut. He played me in the grand final in 2006. I've won two premierships with him. Now he has given me the Broncos captaincy as well.

"He has been great for my career on and off the field. He really does care about the person and not just the footy player and that is what enables him to get the best out of all his players."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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