Emotional Boyd to lift Broncos in NRL

A “pretty emotional” Darius Boyd will be ready to fire on his injury return in Brisbane’s NRL preliminary final against Melbourne, despite the loss of his beloved grandmother this week.

Broncos great Justin Hodges said the club had rallied around their heartbroken skipper in the days since Boyd’s grandmother, Delphine, passed away.

And he expected the fullback to hit the ground running at AAMI Park.

“We do pay our respects to his nana who helped raise him as a young kid,” Hodges told Fox Sports’ Queenslanders Only.

“He doesn’t have much family so it is a big loss for him.

“He will be pretty emotional but he has got the strength and support of the club and the boys behind him.”

Boyd’s grandmother had raised the Broncos fullback since he was 15.

Boyd’s wife Kayla shared a tribute on social media on Monday.

“Rest in Peace Nana Boyd,” she posted with a picture of Boyd with his grandmother and his one-year-old daughter Willow.

Boyd missed training on Monday but moved freely when he returned to the Broncos on Tuesday.

Hodges was pleased to hear veteran forward Sam Thaiday quickly throw his support behind their mourning skipper earlier in the week.

“I saw Sam come out saying they will rally around him and I have no doubt the Broncos will do that; that’s the type of club we are,” he said.

“Darbs (Boyd) hasn’t played for two weeks but he will come out and play a massive role on Friday night.”

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett expected Boyd to bring “experience and calmness” against the runaway favourites.

“He will have the right mindset. He has handled it well and has all our support; he will be good,” Bennett said of his captain’s emotional week.

Boyd is returning from a hamstring injury to line up against the Storm.

Veteran Brisbane playmaker Benji Marshall said Boyd’s return could not come soon enough as they look to book a second grand final appearance in three years.

In his 15th NRL season, 2005 Wests Tigers premiership winner Marshall said Boyd was one of the best he had seen.

“His return has really lifted the morale of the team,” Marshall told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.

“Having him out the last couple of weeks we have been lacking a bit of leadership.

“I have worked with a lot of captains in the past and his ability to lead our side and the effect he has on our team is a lot greater than I thought it would be before I came to the club (last year).

“He knows how to lift the tempo, he says the right things behind the posts.

“You can see around the club how his return has lifted everyone.”

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