The once-troubled Darius Boyd says he is proud of his progress after retiring Brisbane captain Justin Hodges nominated him as the man to lead the NRL club.
Boyd admitted he never expected to be considered for the captaincy due to his past but was rapt to receive a nod from Hodges, another reformed NRL bad boy.
Hodges told News Corp after last week confirming he would retire at season’s end that Boyd would be an ideal Broncos skipper for at least the next five years.
It capped a remarkable transformation by Boyd, who took a two-month sabbatical from the NRL in late 2014 in which he checked into a mental health facility for depression.
“With my past I guess it is something I never thought I would get the opportunity (to do),” Boyd said.
“I still have a long way to go but I have made some improvements in myself.
“It is a massive honour to be thought of (for the captaincy).
“There are a lot of quality guys who could do the job too (but) to be spoken of – I am pretty proud of that.”
Boyd is expected to have the inside running on the captaincy with his long-time mentor, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, making the final call on Brisbane’s next skipper.
Ex-captains Corey Parker and Sam Thaiday, halfback Ben Hunt, Alex Glenn and hooker Andrew McCullough are also expected to be considered before Bennett announces his 2016 skipper.
Boyd returned to the Broncos in the off-season after a seven year hiatus under a huge question mark due to his 2014 sabbatical.
He faced another test of character when he ruptured his Achilles 10 days into Brisbane pre-season training.
After five months of gruelling rehabilitation Boyd has emerged as Brisbane’s trump card at fullback in their bid to win their first NRL title since 2006.
But the once notoriously media shy Boyd appears to have made greater strides battling his personal demons.
The man who once infamously held a 42 second “press conference” in 2009 before reporters gave up has been laidback with media since his Brisbane return and appears more comfortable in his own skin.
Boyd admitted he was following in the footsteps of Hodges, another who emerged from a troubled past.
“I think we all go through different things in your life, you grow up after being a bit of a kid at times,” Boyd said.
“Hodgo is a credit to himself and it’s a similar path that I have had the last year or two.
“I would like to keep improving myself.”