Why Walters called Boyd the night GI broke his thumb
Darius Boyd has revealed how Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters called him the night Greg Inglis broke his thumb to make sure he was remaining in representative retirement.
The 31-year-old Broncos captain had weeks earlier announced his retirement but when Inglis suffered his injury for South Sydney on the same day Queensland's game three team was due to be announced Walters wanted to be sure Boyd meant it.
In a frank interview with NRL.com, Boyd has outlined the call from Walters, his own satisfaction with his decision to focus on club football and how he believes Queensland is in great hands with Corey Oates and the rising outside back stars coming through.
The Maroons delayed their game three team announcement from Sunday night until the Monday morning as Walters and his fellow selectors decided how to replace Inglis.
"Kevvie rang me on the Sunday night after GI was injured and just asked if my retirement stood because he needed a left centre," said Boyd, who played 28 games for the Maroons and scored 17 tries.
"I just said I was happy with my decision and that it did stand. That basically ended the conversation so it was pretty short and sweet."
Boyd, who also played 23 Tests for Australia and remarkably never lost a match, told Walters he was happy with what he'd achieved and where he was at in his life.
"I said I made my decision because I was happy with what I'd achieved and where I am at," Boyd said.
"It would have been nice to play in front of family and friends but it is a Queensland team that is building for the future. Kevvie had said my form wasn't where it needed to be to and I thought Corey Oates was someone that definitely deserved to be there with his form.
"I made my decision to retire based on a few of those reasons so to come out and backflip on my decision to play one game seemed strange to me."
When asked if he got the impression that Walters would have picked him, Boyd said "you'd have to ask him I guess".
NRL.com did exactly that and Walters said that because Boyd had been such an outstanding player for Queensland he wanted to do the right thing and hear that he'd brought down the curtain on his illustrious rep career from the horse's mouth.
"I rang Darius out of courtesy more than anything because while he had said in the paper that he had retired I wanted to hear it from him, and we were looking at all our options," Walters told NRL.com.
"I asked him 'are you officially done at that level?' and he said 'yes' so we didn't take it any further."
The Maroons selectors ultimately decided to go with Oates on the left wing and shifted Dane Gagai to left centre to replace Inglis, which paid dividends in the 18-12 win in game three.
Boyd has been a wonderful servant of the Maroons on the wing, fullback and centre and was a key figure in the continuation of Queensland's dominance from the moment he scored two tries on debut in 2008 until his final game in 2017 when he played a key role in the 18-16 comeback win in game two.
Walters said Boyd would be remembered as a Maroons "great" who had never let Queensland down since his stunning debut.
"From that moment on he has been a real pro," Walters said.
"He is Queensland's second highest tryscorer behind GI and that was a potent combination they had.
"Darius went [from wing] to fullback in 2016 and won the Ron McAuliffe Medal for Queensland's best player of the series. Last year he played in the centres in game two and did the job there for us there before he got injured.
"He has been a great player for Queensland through that dominant era and now he can sit back and be very proud of his Origin career.
"It was just as shame that he couldn't get to the milestone of 30 Origin games, but this year he has battled a bit with injury early in the season and Darius would be first to admit that his form didn't warrant selection either."
While Maroons greats Cameron Smith and Billy Slater received tributes on the night of Origin III, Boyd said he not believe the game or the Maroons owed him anything.
"Even if I was playing I wouldn't have liked a farewell," Boyd said.
"Obviously it is nice to be remembered or honoured for what you have achieved but I am very grateful for what I have achieved.
"I don't think I need to be given a farewell or anything. The game doesn't owe me anything and Queensland doesn't owe me anything. If anything I owe the game and I owe Queensland. I look at it all from a very humble and grateful place."
Boyd, who is contracted at Brisbane until the end of 2021, said there was an aspect of relief attached to making his decision.
"It is definitely a weight off my shoulders and something that I didn't think I would do at the start of the year but the best decision for myself," he said.
"Now I am looking forward to finishing off my career strongly at the Broncos."