The last time Darius Boyd played for Australia was back in 2014.
Sure, he had been picked for the Kangaroos.
But deep down, Boyd wasn’t happy.
He had known for a while.
Barely two months later Boyd admitted himself to a mental health clinic to treat depression.
He didn’t play again that year.
Fast forward two years and nothing could wipe the smile off Boyd’s face after earning his next Test jumper ahead of Friday week’s trans-Tasman clash in Newcastle.
And this time, there was no faking his happiness.
Boyd will come full circle in his remarkable rehabilitation when he runs out in the green in gold on May 7 at Newcastle – the same place he finally faced his demons two years ago.
Boyd was almost lost to league when he cut short his NRL stint for the Newcastle Knights in July 2014 and took the brave step to address his personal problems.
He finally re-emerged at his first club Brisbane in 2015 after following mentor Wayne Bennett.
Boyd was no stranger to the Broncos after starting his stellar career at the club in 2006.
Yet the Boyd presented upon his return was almost unrecognisable.
He was no longer gruff with the media.
He was no longer angry with the world.
He was happy.
“You have to be happy off the field to be able to put your best foot forward,” Boyd told AAP.
“For a few years I tried to mask it but after a while I struggled.
“Finding happiness is definitely something that has been great for me off the field.
“Family and my own happiness has definitely improved.
“Hopefully it continues and that helps keep me playing good footy.”
So far, so good.
Boyd not only earned a Test recall, he claimed Greg Inglis’ Kangaroos No.1 jersey and relegated his best mate to left centre.
Yet Boyd is only just scratching the surface in his comeback.
“I am a bit off (peak form). I would definitely like to improve my game for sure,” he said ominously.
Not that Boyd is unhappy with his progress since he last ran out for the Kangaroos in 2014.
“It has been a couple of years now since I have played for Australia,” he said.
“It was definitely a goal of mine to get picked this year – it’s a pretty special feeling.”