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Boyd relishes playing for 'double the eyeballs' despite empty stands

Darius Boyd says the Broncos have plenty of  motivation to perform in front of an empty Suncorp Stadium on Friday night with "probably double the eyeballs" than usual on the game from fans around the globe.

In the wake of the coronavirus causing havoc with professional sport, the Brisbane veteran said the NRL had made the right call to proceed with the Telstra Premiership with no crowds.

"It is different but at the end of the day there are going to be more eyeballs on the TV and watching from home. We spoke about that," Boyd said ahead of Friday night's clash with the Rabbitohs.

"There are a lot of other sports that aren’t playing so there is more opportunity for rugby league to be seen abroad, and that could be a positive.

"It is strange but it is two points and each team will be up for it to play well. The commentary, media and all that stuff is all the same so you have still got to perform well and do your job.

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"It is good to be able to play footy still. It is a strange time at the moment but I watched the NRL press conference the other day and I think they are doing the right thing and listening to the professionals.

"To have no crowds is smart. It is business as usual for us."

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that ESPN director of international production Sergio Verdu is exploring the option with the NRL of screening games for US audiences now that big global competitions are in recess.

"It is not great to see what is happening and what we are going through but it is a positive for rugby league that ESPN want to pick something up. If we get more viewers on the game then when all this does settle down it could be a great thing for the league," Boyd said.

Boyd said "so long as nothing changes" he was happy to play on despite the impact of coronavirus in the wider community. The players themselves are taking all precautionary measures available to them.

"We are trying to keep our little circle close … so no guests or anyone outside the circle coming in. We make sure we hand sanitiser and clean bottles and all that type of stuff," he said.

"Listening to the professionals, the NRL seems right across it and the RLPA as well. From my understanding it is the elderly and people with a history of illnesses [that are worst impacted]. Young people are OK with it and as far as I am concerned I am happy to play.

"Who knows what the future holds? We are all a part of this and need to look after each other and make sure we are doing the right things but I thought the NRL handled themselves really well.

"If it changes next week or the week after we go from there."

The Broncos are expected to bring Jamil Hopoate into the starting line-up to play South Sydney with Tevita Pangai jnr suspended and captain Alex Glenn still battling a hamstring injury.

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Broncos winger Corey Oates missed training on Monday with a gastric bug but is expected to play on Friday night. If not, Herbie Farnworth will start on the left wing.

Boyd said it was disappointing to lose Pangai for dangerous contact on Cowboys centre Justin O’Neill.

"Sam Burgess was one of those guys who played on the edge and that [aggression] is what made him a great player. Tevita is in the same boat," Boyd said.

"He’s aggressive and when he has that mindset he plays really well. If he’s not he is not playing his best game.

"You don’t want to see hits to the head and things that are illegal in the game. It is a fine line and Tevita needs to hopefully focus on the other side rather than the negative one."

With Pangai suspended the Broncos are likely to name prop Ethan Bullemor on the bench for his NRL debut if Glenn is ruled out as expected.