Darius Boyd is ready to reinvent himself as a left centre for the Broncos and has outlined why he has no resentment over losing the captaincy.
The 32-year-old will get his first crack at playing centre against the CQ Capras in Rockhampton on Saturday night.
Boyd sat down with NRL.com at Broncos HQ for an in-depth chat about his new role and why he gracefully accepted coach Anthony Seibold's decision to remove the 'c' next to his name and appoint Alex Glenn as the new skipper.
Back to centre where it all began
Boyd has spent virtually the entire pre-season at left centre, and after playing fullback and five-eighth last year, is determined to make the position his own.
"If I play to the standard I am capable of I have no doubt I can start all year in that left centre position," Boyd said.
"Like every year though, it doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, you’ve still got to prove yourself.
Parker a Bronco again
"There are a lot of young guys coming through but with my experience I think I have the upper hand on those guys.
"It has been really good to have the full pre-season there after Seibs said 'just focus on left centre' so I don’t have to worry about catching [bombs] or the other things I would if I’d been put in another position.
"I am really happy with my speed, fitness, strength and all the football stuff. Now I just have to put it all into practice on game day."
Boyd has played centre for Queensland on one occasion and had the odd game there in the NRL, but it is a little-known fact that he started off in the juniors on the Gold Coast and at Palm Beach Currumbin High School as a centre.
"Through juniors I played centre and only played fullback in my last year of high school, but I still played centre that same year in club footy,” he said.
"Wayne [Bennett] initially took me to the Dragons as a centre because Gaz [Mark Gasnier] had left and I actually trialled at right centre because originally he wanted Brett Morris to play fullback, but I ended up starting at fullback and staying there."
There was talk of Boyd having a crack at wing this year but he said he'd only trained there once in the pre-season.
Boyd had just had breakfast on Thursday with Jack Bird, one of his chief competitors for left centre, when he spoke to NRL.com. Bird will play fullback against the Capras and is a chance of unseating Jamayne Isaako in that role.
Bird ready for new challenge at fullback
"Jack has been training at fullback but he can play anywhere. He is a left centre option but that is Seibs’ decision," Boyd said.
“I can’t really worry about Birdy. I’ve been helping him out with a few things about playing fullback and he is looking good there, as has Jamayne.
"It is going to be an interesting month and a good headache for Seibs to have, but all I can worry about is making sure I give myself the best chance to be there and stay there.
"I’ve been getting some good reps with Anthony Milford and David Fifita [on the left] and we have built a lot of trust in defence."
Losing the captaincy
Seibold met with Boyd straight after the season finished last year and told him that he was moving in another direction with the captaincy. He later explained he wanted Boyd to be able to focus on playing his best football in the twilight years without the burden of leadership.
"I was pretty good about it I think. He said 'look, I want to go a different way with the captaincy and I will look at you playing left centre next year' and I was happy with that and went away thinking ‘yes I can get my head around that'," Boyd said of Seibold's call.
"I’ve always had the best interests of this club, a club that I love, at heart.
"I didn’t take on the captaincy for individual accolades.
"I enjoyed the captaincy, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but I am a team guy and always have been.
"I have no hard feelings. I have no resentment. I want the team to be successful.
"I have still been helping out the younger ones, speaking up at meetings and putting my two cents in when needed.
"We have young players here who are going to do some special things in the next few years so it is about us older fellas helping them, so that when we are gone they can lead the club into a good space."
The three-year learning curve as skipper
Boyd has had time to reflect on his three-year stint in the captaincy role and how it enabled him to grow as a person and a player.
"I learned a heap. When I first got the captaincy it didn’t sit well with me because I had never wanted to be the centre of attention," he said.
"So what I did was what I had always done, and that was to lead by example.
"I spoke when things needed to be said and I was lucky in that first year to have Benji Marshall, Adam Blair, Sam Thaiday, Macca [Andrew McCullough], Ben Hunt, [Matt] Gillett and Lexi [Alex Glenn] so my role was pretty easy.
"We went well that year and then it got harder the last two years with our on-field performances and we also got younger as a team, but I have enjoyed helping the younger ones with their careers and to get better too."
When Glenn was appointed skipper he spoke of how much support Boyd had always given him over the years, and that backing is set to be reciprocated.
"Lexi is a one-club player who has been here since 2007 and he has a great work ethic and professionalism and is really respected by everyone in the group," Boyd said.
"I have seen him grow as a person and a leader in the past five years that I have been back here. He is humble and always thinks of the boys and wants them to interact and be together.
"That is all we need really in a captain - someone who is well respected, does his job on the field and knows what he is talking about. People love him and enjoy his company. Lexi will do a great job."