Broncos skipper Boyd set to take huge pay cut
BESIEGED Brisbane captain Darius Boyd will underline his loyalty to the club by taking a $300,000 pay cut if he decides to see out his four-year deal with the Broncos in 2021.
In the wake of his season-best performance against the Eels on Friday night, The Sunday Mail can reveal the finer details of Boyd's contract will not make him a salary-cap burden in his twilight years.
Brisbane's most decorated player has come under pressure to retire at season's end with many pundits fearing his lofty position on the Broncos' payroll could cost them several young guns, including David Fifita.
But Boyd's salary will be heavily slashed in the final season of his existing four-year contract.
The 32-year-old intends to play on in 2020. Under the salary cap, Boyd is scheduled to earn $700,000 next season, with a contractual clause stipulating he must play at least 15 games in 2020 to trigger a 12-month extension.
However, the final year of his contract is not as exorbitant as initially suspected. Should Boyd turn out in 2021, his salary will be downgraded to $400,000, effectively a 40 per cent pay cut and a reason the Broncos will have extra funds to upgrade teenage sensation Fifita.
Boyd is Brisbane's third-highest paid player behind Anthony Milford ($1 million) and Jack Bird ($800,000), but the Broncos have a history of strategically scaling back player payments in their final years.
In his swansong year in 2011, Broncos legend Darren Lockyer, Brisbane's most-capped player and a future NRL Immortal, turned out for just $200,000.
There is a possibility Boyd will walk away of his own volition at the end of next season but if the 315-game stalwart soldiers on in 2021, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold says it will not be a financial blow.
"What Darius does won't have any impact on David Fifita," Seibold said following Boyd's sizzling display to sink the Eels.
"It was good for Darius to repay the faith I have in him and he has done it a few times when he has been questioned this year.
"I haven't even spoken to Darius about what he might do next year or the year after, because it's not the right time.
"We are a week away from the regular season finishing and we are in a fight with three or four other teams to play finals.
"Once the season is done and dusted in a few weeks time, I will sit down and have a chat but Darius has indicated to me he wants to go around next year."
A number of NRL legends have brutally dissected Boyd's form this season.
Queensland Origin legend Paul Vautin described Boyd's early season defence as "abysmal" and NRL halfback Immortal Andrew Johns called for him to be axed as fullback.
Despite the stinging criticism, Boyd said his passion for the game had not diminished and it was driving him in his quest to lead Brisbane to a sixth consecutive finals appearance.
Asked how he has coped with the attacks, Boyd said: "I just love rugby league.
"I love coming to training and I'm still motivated.
"I love leading the team I'm playing with and 'Seibs' as coach is doing a great job.
"I'm still trying to turn up to training every week to do my best and get better as a player.
"It's always nice to hear nice things said and it's not great when negative things are said. But I don't live in a rugby league bubble.
"I have my family and friends and I know when I have played well and haven't well played.
"The important thing is that I turn up with a smile on my face trying to lead and use my experience on and off the field."
LISTEN! On the Matty Johns podcast, Matty lets fly on the crisis engulfing his former club the Newcastle Knights, and the team look at the best NRL rivalries and recall some of their favourite interview moments.
Asked if he would play in 2021 at age 34, Boyd said: "I'm just worried about Canterbury next week, I just have to keep playing well and I will worry about my future after the season."
Seibold lauded Boyd's contribution against the Eels, saying people outside Brisbane's inner-sanctum did't see his value for younger teammates.
"He was outstanding," he said.
"I have copped criticism for backing him up, which I don't understand because you back your leaders.
"Players tell you a story which people at home or in the stands or commentators can't see.
"David Fifita wants to play beside Darius because of his organisation and talk and experience. That tells me something.
"His numbers have been down at different times in various parts of his game, but the calmness that he brings is something we don't have a lot of.
"We don't have a lot of experience in this team, we have so many guys who are new to this level. I'm very proud of Darius."