Twelve months ago, Wayne Bennett told Darius Boyd he would be Brisbane’s 2017 NRL captain.
Yet Boyd, 29, still needed more time to grasp the enormity of his transformation when he fronted the media on Wednesday.
“I am humbled to be here, bit nervous and emotional, to be honest,” a teary Boyd said before stopping to regain his composure.
An awkward silence set in.
Then Bennett, sitting beside an emotional Boyd, fittingly stepped in to help – just like he had throughout the player’s entire career.
“I told him 12 months ago he would be captain,” said Bennett, Boyd’s only NRL coach in his 11-year career.
“Because he’s introverted – I am one of them as well – it’s not straightforward for him.
“It takes a while to get his head around it, make sure it was what he wanted to do.
“It wasn’t a hard decision – it was just the timing.”
Once he had gathered himself, Boyd admitted he had not stopped thinking about the captaincy since Bennett’s ‘heads up’ 12 months ago.
Now barely three years after being treated for depression, Boyd believed he was finally ready to take over from retired skipper Corey Parker.
“I couldn’t get it out of my head,” Boyd said of Bennett’s captaincy call a year ago.
“It’s a club I have loved since I was six (but) I had to work out whether I was the best person for the job.
“I never thought this would be possible. I wrestled with it a bit.
“(But) with the things I have changed and turned around in the last couple of years, I am ready – on and off the field.”
Boyd’s confirmation as Broncos captain caps a stirring comeback.
He failed to finish the 2014 season with Newcastle after seeking treatment for depression.
And soon after relocating to Brisbane in 2015, where he started his stellar career, Boyd suffered a serious pre-season achilles injury.
Yet the once media-shy Boyd emerged as a leader at the Broncos.
He hit career-best form in 2016, making the No.1 Test and Queensland State of Origin jerseys his own.
Bennett said Boyd would be Broncos captain “as long as he plays football”.
And the master coach believed Boyd had another six years left in his career.
It ends a recent run of Brisbane captains including Sam Thaiday (2013), Parker and Justin Hodges (2014), Hodges (2015) and Parker (2016).
“You don’t need a new captain every year. It’s like politicians – every six months, you get a new one,” Bennett said.
“I want the captaincy to always be an honour.
“Due to circumstances, we have had three different captains in three years but that is going to stop now – he’s the captain until he retires.”
Boyd said he wasn’t going anywhere.
“I want to grow old here,” he said.