Injured Queensland star Billy Slater has praised the form and leadership of Darius Boyd.
Slater’s season-ending shoulder injury opened the door for Boyd to finally play a game at fullback for the Maroons in last month’s series opener in Sydney.
The Brisbane No.1 didn’t disappoint, playing a leading role as Queensland claimed a gutsy 6-4 victory to go one-up in the series.
Slater, who has been helping the Maroons’ coaching staff this year, says it was exciting to see Boyd getting a shot at fullback in an Origin game.
“I thought Darius was one of our best players on the field,” Slater told AAP.
“He’s a player that never lets his team down. He does all the little things really well and in Origin that’s what you need to focus on.
“He’s playing some really good football at the moment and it’s the balance of the team, with Greg (Inglis) up in the front line and Darius out the back, he works really hard.
“You can’t fault his game after the first one.”
Boyd backed up his Origin display with a hat-trick for the Broncos last Thursday in their victory over Canberra.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said after that win over the Raiders, Boyd was approaching his career-best 2010 form which he compared to being in the mold of Darren Lockyer.
Now Boyd is preparing to take on the challenge of playing fullback for his state in front of a packed home crowd at Suncorp Stadium in next Wednesday’s game two.
“I’m excited, especially getting to play fullback at home will be something I haven’t done before for Queensland,” Boyd told AAP.
“I think I’ve got a lot of confidence this year through the teams I’ve been picked in and being able to play fullback for my country and Queensland. I was happy with both of my games that I’ve played and just enjoying myself at the moment which is the main thing.”