Gillett backs Boyd for Broncos captaincy

Matt Gillett has endorsed Darius Boyd’s credentials to take over as Brisbane’s NRL captain in 2017.

Boyd is favoured among a number of potential skippers including Sam Thaiday, Adam Blair, Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough to take over in the wake of Corey Parker’s retirement last season.

“He (Boyd) has come a long way,” said Gillett at training on Wednesday.

“Darius is such a great leader and he’s been showing that for the last couple of years – especially in the representative arena as well.”

Boyd, Gillett and the rest of the Broncos’ Four Nations representatives returned to training for the 2017 pre-season on Thursday.

It’s unclear when coach Wayne Bennett will unveil the side’s new skipper, however he waited until a week out from the 2016 season before announcing Parker’s elevation to the captaincy.

Regardless, Boyd is the first to admit it would represent a significant turnaround in his career, after he was once an often-maligned player at both NRL and representative level.

“It’s something that I would probably have never thought about a few years ago to be honest,” he said.

“I probably wasn’t in the position.

“If I got that captaincy it would be something I would have to pinch myself – I would be pretty honoured.”

Boyd is contending to become the third Broncos skipper in three years, after Justin Hodges also retired after taking on the sole captaincy role in 2015.

“It’s a huge job,” Boyd said.

“It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest in rugby league.

“Especially to captain the Broncos who have such great history and have had so many great players who have gone before and had so much success as captain.”

Unlike his recent predecessors, at 29, Boyd appears to have several season left in the game and he shows no signs of slowing down.

He scored nine tries in 2016 – his second highest haul since 2009 – and considered it his “most complete” season.

“Especially with the rep side of things,” he said.

“I was really happy and especially playing fullback gave me a chance to play my preferred position and see what I could do on that stage.”

Boyd backed the Broncos to return to the top four in 2017 after they slipped to fifth last year, when he admitted they perhaps played with the heartbreak of the 2015 golden-point grand final loss to North Queensland still lingering.

“It might have been in the back of our minds maybe,” he said.

“I think this year, a new year, a lot of new guys to the club.

“I know I’m personally feeling really excited about the season and what we can do and what we can achieve.”

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