Durkin: 'Double agent' needs to be shaken and stirred
League of their own
I make this preposterous statement with tongue firmly in cheek - could Broncos' captain Darius Boyd actually be a double agent?
Wearing a Broncos jersey and captaining the team, is it possible that Boyd - who has played 292 of his 309 NRL games under the mentorship of now-Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett - may be scheming against the club with which he won an NRL premiership in his first year out of school?
"Don't be ridiculous," I can hear the chorus of one-eyed Broncos fans refuting. And despite the irrefutable sanctity of the relationship between Boyd and Bennett, just the suggestion of a ruse to undermine the Broncos as a square-up for sacking the foundation coach, borders on hilarity.
But, as a rusted-on Broncos supporter - and a life member of the club - I reckon I'm entitled to fly the kite and ask THE question. Is the Broncos captain deadset having a genuine dig for his team?
His performance against the Knights at the weekend was as poor as it gets. Stats say he ran for seven metres. He played five-eighth, and ran for a seven metres - seriously?
But that was the best part of his game. His missed tackle on Jesse Ramien, which led to the match-winning try, was as clumsy as it gets at this level.
Yet that wasn't the worst blunder either.
With the Broncos seemingly back in the contest following two quick second-half tries, Boyd's error from the kick-off would have been inexcusable even from one of the many rookies he leads, and not a 28-Orign and 23-Test veteran who has captained a club to an NRL premiership. The misjudgment was so poor, it looked deliberate.
Only a miracle can now save the Broncos from just their sixth finals blackout in the club's 32-year history. And considering they were on the third line of betting before a ball was kicked, that is a major disaster for the best-resourced club in the competition.
Okay, there are acceptable reasons. A new coach with a team full of rookies is the most notable, and logical.
But a captain whose form - for most of the season - has been abysmal, must be part of the Red Hill conundrum. How can a bunch of kids be inspired by such an insipid, seemingly disinterested display as the one Boyd turned in against the Knights?
More than ever the talented group of youngsters needs an on-field inspiration, particularly in light of the number of experienced players who have moved on since coach Anthony Seibold arrived.
Publicly, Boyd is saying the right things, and maybe in team meetings too. But on the field - with a couple of notable exceptions - he is offering absolutely nothing to this young group.
And, alarmingly, he has the remainder of this season and three more years to run on his contract. To Broncos fans, that rings loud alarm bells.
When Boyd re-signed late last year he was quoted as saying the contract helps him on his journey beyond football. He said he was passionate about good mental health practices, and the contract enabled him the chance to further that work.
If his form is a yardstick, that journey needs to start now, not in three years.