‘It doesn’t faze me’: Bronco Boyd tackles critics
Retiring Broncos veteran Darius Boyd says he doesn't fear being axed by coach Anthony Seibold and insists he is not complacent about his form as he approaches his final months in rugby league.
Some of the code's biggest names have called for Boyd to be dropped with even NRL Immortal Andrew Johns believing Seibold can no longer persist with the underwire 32-year-old.
But while Boyd has struggled for potency in attack, statistics show he is the second best defensive centre in the NRL, having missed just seven of 151 tackles after eight rounds for a 95 per cent success rate.
Boyd has been subjected to savage criticism for the past 18 months with many believing he should have retired last year. But, in his 15th and final season in NRL, Boyd feels he is justifying his place in the team and says he will give the Broncos total commitment until he retires.
"It doesn't faze me people saying I should be dropped," he said.
"To be honest, people say what they want all the time. I don't have social media, I don't read the papers and I leave football at the door when I get home.
"It's obviously not nice for your family and friends to hear the negative comments but it's part of the business. It's disappointing. But I've got about 12 weeks or so left of my career and then people can say what they want about me.
"I have regular conversations with 'Seibs' and I know where I stand with him. I don't need to worry about the criticism and people speaking about my future.
"As long as I am decent a job right now, I'm content. I'm giving everything I can and helping the young guys wherever I can. My joy for the game hasn't gone at all."
It is tribute to Boyd's longevity that he has played 326 games in the NRL. If he stays fit, he will overtake Sharks icon Andrew Ettingshausen (328) and could finish with 337 games, which would see him leapfrog Brad Fittler and John Sutton (336) into the NRL's top 10 all-time appearances.
Brisbane's misfiring attack has rendered Boyd an offensive passenger out wide, but he is content with his transition to the centres this season. The data is evidence of his defensive application and explains why Seibold, aside from Boyd's experience, keeps picking the former skipper.
"I enjoy playing in the centres," Boyd said.
"It's been a different challenge.
"My job is to defend well and make sure there are no tries on our left edge and communicate with the guys inside and outside me.
"I know I have to get more involved in the attack side of things but I have been pretty happy with my overall game and I feel I've been making my tackles and keeping our left edge as strong as possible.
"With the slump we've been in, I definitely haven't been playing my best football. Like everyone else, I need to improve my game. I'm still doing extras in different areas at training to make sure I get better."
Boyd's former Queensland Origin teammate Cooper Cronk retired last year with an NRL premiership. Given Brisbane's current state, a farewell lap-of-honour on grand-final day appears remote, but Boyd isn't bothered by fairytales.
"I never look at things like finishing with a premiership because they are things out of your control," he said.
"In a weird way I am still loving my football and enjoying the season. That's because I've learnt how to deal with my mental health and the ups and down of the rugby league world.
"The biggest thing I've learnt is to leave your job at the door and realise you are not a bad person if you don't play a good game. We don't deserve the abuse we cop. But when I come home to my family, I leave work at the door and make sure I'm a good husband, father and friend and all the other things that life brings and is about.
"You can only control what you can control and I can control my energy, my attitude and the way I perform each week. I am trying to be positive around the group. As long as I am doing those things with a smile on my face until the end, I will be happy."
Originally published as 'It doesn't faze me': Bronco Boyd tackles critics