As Darius Boyd gets set to play in his 12th finals series under Wayne Bennett he's revealed how the Brisbane coach lit a fire in his belly before his first finals appearance in 2006 that has stayed with him ever since.
At the end of 2006 Boyd's form had dropped from the start of the year. He was 19 and had played every game of the season until the second-last round, when Bennett taught him a lesson about the need to fight for his position and never take anything for granted.
"That’s when Wayne, he didn’t put me in reserve grade, but he told me that I needed a rest and a break," Boyd told NRL.com leading into Sunday's elimination final clash with St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium.
"He said that when I came back to play the Warriors in the last game before the finals that I was level pegging with the rest of the team and what I'd done during the year didn’t really count.
"From there in it was going to be based on performances as to who played on the wing and we had Leon Bott, Steve Michaels and Tame Tupou, who had played for New Zealand that year, in the squad."
Those words lit a fire in the young Boyd.
"I was marking big Manu Vatuvei and I kept thinking about Wayne’s words about the level playing field and all the guys there that could have taken my spot, so I wanted to make sure I was there for the finals series," Boyd said.
"I tried really hard in that Warriors game and played pretty well."
Bennett persevered with Boyd from the first final against the Dragons right through until the grand final, where he showed one final vote of confidence in his young winger.
"I always cherished the fact that Wayne played me in the grand final because in the prelim final against Canterbury, Matt Utai ran over me and scored try and they kicked a 40/20 on my side as well," Boyd said.
"After winning that night I was in the shower and everyone was pumped to go to the grand final but I was uncertain if I would even be in the grand final."
Twelve years on and Boyd is set to play in his 24th final. They have all been under Bennett, who has also taught him about lifting gears when finals come around.
"Wayne puts that trust in you, that he knows you will do the job and you want to return the favour," Boyd said.
"He is pretty calm, but at the same time I think he gets a bit excited when finals time comes around and his game lifts to another level.
"He always comes up with a few different things at training or around our game plan that we haven’t seen before.
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"In finals the big dogs come out to play, whether you are a player or coach, and that is definitely what Wayne does."
Boyd conceded winning four from four over the coming month to take the title was a big challenge, but not insurmountable.
"Any team that wins it will have to win at least three. In 2015 the Cowboys played in four finals," he said
"Looking at how close the competition is, if there is ever a season where it will be won from outside the top four I reckon it will be this year."