Darius Boyd is uncertain whether the potential coaching swap between Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold will go ahead but if it does, he insists there is only one approach the Brisbane players must take.
"I am planning on Wayne being here next year and from a personal standpoint I hope he is, and I know all the boys do, but if Seibold comes in it is business as usual," Boyd told NRL.com.
"As players, we are all professionals. If Wayne is here we will do our best under Wayne. If it is Seibold we will do our best under Seibold.
"We will still want to win and be successful and do the best for ourselves, our family, fans and members."
Bennett is set to return to Broncos training in the coming days and usher in the next round of stories on the swap saga.
The veteran mentor, who has signed to take over as South Sydney coach from Seibold in 2020, has been a broken record on his plans for next season ever since the Broncos bowed out of the finals. Before leaving for Europe to coach England he sent a text to all Broncos players stating he would be back in 2019 to honour his Brisbane contract and has reiterated this intention several times since.
Boyd hopes Bennett will stay at Brisbane in 2019
NRL.com understands Brisbane CEO Paul White has no intention of allowing that to happen. The Broncos are comfortable with Bennett being on board for another year, but also cognisant of the fact that if an early switch could be arranged it would be the best outcome for both clubs.
If the situation does change and there is a coaching swap it will be due to high-level negotiations behind the scenes that have a complexity to them beyond the tenure of the head coaches.
When Bennett was brought back to the Broncos in 2015 to replace Anthony Griffin, the total cost to the club was approximately $2 million. There was the pay-out to Griffin but also to players – Ben Barba and Martin Kennedy for starters – and staff who were also moved on due to Bennett's return.
Any swap before the 2019 season would also likely involve potential payouts to staff who are contracted to the Broncos. They have families to support and professional aspirations of their own. These are delicate matters and will involve respectful discussions and frank negotiations.
While plenty of former Brisbane players have been vocal about the need for a swap it is not a straightforward process.
Another factor at play is the Broncos' majority shareholder is Nationwide News, a subsidiary of NewsCorp.
Tallis: Bennett and Seibold must swap now
Bennett's return in 2015 and the subsequent payouts were ticked off by NewsCorp and the company would need to do so again if there is to be any change to the status quo.
Boyd, contracted until the end of 2021 at Brisbane, has only played in the NRL under Bennett at Brisbane, St George Illawarra and Newcastle but he is comfortable with the fact he will finish his career with Seibold as his coach.
Bennett wanted to coach Brisbane in 2020 but the Broncos board did not grant that wish. It is not a decision Boyd would have made, but one he also understands is part and parcel of the game after he himself was forced out of the Broncos at the end of 2008.
"I am obviously biased. I've played with Wayne all my career and I'd love to finish my career under him but that is not going to happen," Boyd said.
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"More than ever that shows that while rugby league is a game, it is also a business and no one is immune to retirement or being tapped on the shoulder.
"I learned that early on when I had to leave Brisbane.
"I wanted to play my whole career here and never would have left if I hadn't got tapped on the shoulder all those years ago because all I ever wanted to do as a kid was play for the Broncos.
"You get there and hope it will be 'happily ever after' but that is not always the way it works out, but I got to stay with Wayne and follow Wayne and I value the clubs I played for and all the experiences I had along the way."
The pair share an unbreakable bond but that is counterbalanced by Boyd's respect for White. Boyd's development as a leader and his understanding of how the business of rugby league works has informed his pragmatic approach to the Brisbane coaching landscape.
The 31-year-old is also satisfied that White has kept him in the loop about the club's plans to the extent required.
"I think Whitey is a great CEO, the best I have ever had, and I respect him," Boyd said.
"While I would have loved Wayne to stay on Whitey and the board are paid to make business decisions, and they've made them. That is their job. As players, it is our job to play.
"On the outside, whether it be fans or family, they will all go 'what is going on? Is Wayne going to be there?' So it is natural the boys are talking about it.
"A lot of the boys want Wayne to stay but once they meet Seibold I am sure they will form a connection with him as a person and enjoy his methods."
No one is immune to retirement or being tapped on the shoulder.Darius Boyd
The former Maroons and Kangaroos stalwart enjoyed his time being coached by Seibold when he was Queensland's assistant coach.
"Anthony was really good. Being Origin it wasn't week-in and week-out but I thought he was really thorough with everything he went through and I liked the way he spoke to the players," Boyd said.
"His resume before Souths and Origin was good. Then you add what he did at Origin level and the year he had at Souths getting (Dally M) coach of the year and he couldn't be in a better position to come to a strong club like the Broncos with a lot of expectation.
"I'm sure he is excited to come, whenever that is, and I am sure he will do a good job when he gets here."