Darius Boyd at Broncos training at Red Hill. Pic Annette Dew
Darius Boyd at Broncos training at Red Hill. Pic Annette Dew

Seibold to put Boyd on trial

DARIUS Boyd's fight to save his NRL career has begun with the sacked Broncos skipper to be given a chance to impress in Brisbane's maiden trial outing next week in Rockhampton.

Boyd and Jack Bird, the latter on the comeback from a knee reconstruction, will be named in a Broncos side to face the Central Queensland Capras at Browne Park on Saturday week.

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold stripped Boyd of the captaincy a fortnight ago, but the 317-game NRL veteran is adamant he is not a spent force and can showcase his backline experience in the Capras hitout.

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Brisbane's No.1 fullback for the past five seasons, Boyd will start at left centre, a positional switch which represents the last-chance saloon as the 32-year-old faces searing pressure to remain in the NRL.

Bird, meanwhile, will be given some game time against Central Queensland at fullback, although he may yet be a left-centre threat to Boyd, who hopes to partner right-centre Kotoni Staggs for the premiership opener against the Cowboys.

Bird, who hasn't played since snapping his ACL against Manly in May, has been outstanding in pre-season, while Boyd has spent the summer months switching between stints at centre and wing.

Boyd is ready for some fun this season. Photo: Peter Wallis
Boyd is ready for some fun this season. Photo: Peter Wallis

"Darius will play centre in the trial," Seibold said.

"He will play about 20 minutes and Jack will play some time at fullback, it will only be minimal but it will be good to see him back on the park.

"Birdy has done some reps at centre and fullback during the pre-season. We do have some depth in the outside backs, so everyone will get ample opportunity to stake a claim during the trials."

A trim looking Jack Bird will also start his comeback. Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
A trim looking Jack Bird will also start his comeback. Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Another veteran facing a make-or-break campaign is demoted hooker Andrew McCullough, who can put pressure on new first-choice rake Jake Turpin with a slick showing against the Capras.

McCullough is tipped to miss Brisbane's 17-man squad for round one against the Cowboys next month and he needs a huge pre-season to avoid being a $600,000 Intrust Super Cup player.

Seibold is also keen for Queensland Origin forward Joe Ofahengaue, Tongan Test star Tevita Pangai Jr and rookie workhorse Pat Carrigan to blow out the cobwebs against the Capras.

Joe Ofahengaue and Darius Boyd. The Brisbane Broncos training at Red Hill. Pic Peter Wallis
Joe Ofahengaue and Darius Boyd. The Brisbane Broncos training at Red Hill. Pic Peter Wallis

"It's important we do justice to these trials," Seibold said.

"Sometimes you see trials in regional areas and clubs don't send their NRL stars but I want the local people of Rockhampton to see guys like Darius and Andrew McCullough.

"We are conscious not to give the senior guys too much time but it will be good to give them a small hitout and promote rugby league in the region."