Jamayne Isaako has credited Darius Boyd’s leadership as the catalyst for the club’s late-season revival and said the Brisbane captain’s talk was the key to the golden point win over the Eels.
The Broncos, seventh on the Telstra Premiership ladder on 25 points, are all but assured of playing finals football. A win over the Bulldogs in Sydney on Saturday night will seal the deal. If Brisbane lose the only way they can miss out on finals is if Wests Tigers and Cronulla play out an extra-time draw.
Boyd was one of Brisbane’s best in the 17-16 win over Parramatta and Isaako said he was also the man the players looked to for guidance in the big moments.
He said it was Boyd barking orders that ultimately got him into the right position to land the field goal in extra time that won Brisbane the match.
"Darbs has been great. At training he is the voice that the boys listen to with his experience and leadership," Isaako said.
"On the field his leadership is something the boys take pretty seriously. Darbs is our leader in attack. He is the one that makes the calls and directs the boys.
"He was very vocal and he called me in for the set when we called the field goal. I was listening to him.
"He told us to get to the left post and to try and slot it from wherever we end up. David [Fifita] made a couple of breaks there which gave me good field position to slot it."
Boyd has been more scrutinised this year for his performances than any other player in the NRL but said he hadn’t changed his approach. He appreciates the support he has received from his coach Anthony Seibold but has remained stoic in the face of the criticism he has received.
"I don’t change my role much each week. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong. I was pleased to be more involved this week and get the result," Boyd said.
"I love rugby league. I love coming to training every day and I am motivated. I love leading the team I am playing with and the coaching staff.
"It is always nice to hear nice things said about you and not nice when negative things are said but I don’t live in the rugby league bubble. I know when I have played well and I know when I haven’t played well. All I do is turn up to training with a smile on my face trying to lead the group."
Broncos veteran Alex Glenn said Boyd had been a tower of strength for the Broncos despite all the external criticism he had received.
"The criticism he has copped, I take my hat off to him. Not many people would be able to turn up week in and week out and do what he has,” Glenn said.
"You look at the mental state of our game and you have a lot of pressure on you. To deal with those outside pressures it is a credit to him. The last two months he is putting his hand up and doing all the tough carries. He is really leading through his actions.
"When you are changing from fullback to five-eighth that is a tough transition. You have got your hands on the ball a lot more and directing play a lot more. It is a lot of pressure and he is doing it well."