Seibold has stood by Boyd all season. AAP Image/Jono Searle.
Seibold has stood by Boyd all season. AAP Image/Jono Searle.

Broncos won’t force Boyd out

BRONCOS coach Anthony Seibold insists Darius Boyd will not be pushed into early retirement and has backed his besieged skipper to continue his career at Brisbane in 2020.

Incessant criticism of Boyd has sparked a passionate defence from his wife Kayla, who took to social media to hit back in support of her husband ahead of Friday's round 24 clash against Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.

Boyd's wife slammed the "unwarranted opinion", claiming speculation about the Broncos captain retiring at season's end was "complete lies" and "fabricated allegations".

Stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial.

Boyd is off-contract at the end of 2020 with a contractual clause for a further 12-month extension in 2021 that is contingent upon him playing at least 15 games next season.

Speaking on the eve of Brisbane's crucial penultimate-round clash against the sixth-placed Eels, Seibold says he is so content about the 314-game stalwart playing on in 2020 he hasn't broached the topic of retirement.

 

"It hasn't been spoken about," Seibold said when asked if Boyd would retire at season's end.

"Darius has another two years to go on his contract. He has been a fantastic leader for us.

Boyd switched to five-eighth several weeks ago. AAP Image/Jono Searle.
Boyd switched to five-eighth several weeks ago. AAP Image/Jono Searle.

"He has copped a lot of criticism from what I understand throughout the season but he has been fantastic for me and our young group.

"He is a premiership winner as well and we don't have too many here who have won premierships.

"Darius is somebody who has earnt the respect through his performances over a long period of time. He has a lot of deposits in the bank so there has been no conversation with Darius (about retirement).

"I'm not sure where that has come from. Darius hasn't indicated to me that he wants to hang the boots up. Ultimately he has a two-year contract."

LISTEN! On the Matty Johns podcast, Matty lets fly on the crisis engulfing his former club the Newcastle Knights, and the team look at the best NRL rivalries and recall some of their favourite interview moments.

Since Boyd's move from fullback to five-eighth eight weeks ago, the Broncos have lost just twice, but the 32-year-old came under fire for making one run for two metres against the Cowboys three weeks ago.

Seibold says he has had some candid conversations with Boyd about facets of his game that can improve.

"We've had some discussions about what he can do better with his game," he said.

"He is open and honest, you guys know Darius, he knows when he hasn't played well.

"Sometimes it's a conversation between coach and player about, 'You can do this better and you are doing this well'.

"We always have opportunities for feedback but we have a young group, we don't have a lot of experience and Darius being a premiership winner knows what it takes to get the job done.

Darius Boyd has been under the pump in the No.6 jersey. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Darius Boyd has been under the pump in the No.6 jersey. (AAP Image/Darren England)

"I've never thought any different (about him playing in 2020). When I came to the club and you see the roster, you see the contracts and the length of the contracts of the players, there has not been one discussion between myself and Darius about his plans for next year.

"Our main focus is on tomorrow night and looking ahead to next year is not going to help us get the performance we need against Parramatta. We have a really narrow focus."

The Broncos have one injury concern with Queensland Origin forward Joe Ofahengaue in doubt with a calf concern. He will have a fitness test on Thursday at Brisbane's captain's run with Rhys Kennedy on standby should be ruled out.

Fellow prop Tom Flegler will take his place against the Eels after missing training on Wednesday with a virus.

"I've been informed by the physios, we think Joe has a minor strain or tightness in his calf but obviously we want him to play," Seibold said.

"Flegler is fine, he had a day away from training, he wasn't feeling well so we gave him a day off. I spoke to him yesterday afternoon and he is feeling good and he will be right to train and play.

Thomas Flegler has been cleared to play. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Thomas Flegler has been cleared to play. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

"Rhys Kennedy has been named in our 21 so he is the choice to come in (if Ofahengaue is ruled out), he has done a really good job when he has played, so there's no dramas there."

Seibold is wary of the Eels with the eighth-placed Broncos needing to win their final two games to be certain of playing finals football.

"Their back five has been really impressive for them this year," he said. "With (Clint) Gutherson and (Maika) Sivo and Waqa Blake, Michael Jennings is very experienced and Blake Ferguson has been the form winger for the best part of this season.

"We have got ourselves in the top eight and we want to stay there, obviously it's an important game from that context."