Bennett tribute leaves Boyd speechless

 

Darius Boyd's NRL career may have ended with a wooden spoon but he will leave the game with an enviable record.

337 first grade games, 28 State of Origin matches, 29 times representing Australia and two NRL premierships with two clubs, Boyd has achieved everything there is to achieve in the game.

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But ending after a horrible season where his Broncos finished last for the first time in the club's history following a 32-16 loss to the North Queensland Cowboys, it goes to show not all stars can end with a premiership.

He did score a try though, the 87th of his NRL career, and was chaired off the field.

And starting his new life in style, he also did a gender reveal in the middle of Suncorp Stadium, kicking a ball that revealed he and his wife are set to have a girl.

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Darius Boyd is having his third child — a third girl
Darius Boyd is having his third child — a third girl

 

It was an emotional night for both teams with the Cowboys' Gavin Cooper also retiring after the match.

Cooper also played 323 games in the top grade with the Cowboys, the Titans and Penrith as well as six Origins for Queensland.

But post-match it was all about Boyd, who mercifully admitted for the last time in 2020 that it had been a difficult season for the side.

"It's disappointing obviously but it's been a tough year for a number of reasons," he said.

"My last game isn't going to define the career I've had, I've been very grateful and honoured to play with some of the best players in the game and for some great clubs too. A lot of gratitude and I really owe a lot to rugby league."

Channel 9 then shared a series of tributes for Boyd.

Former Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon, who's career was cut short when a spear tackle in 2014 left him as a quadriplegic.

"Hey Darbs, massive congratulations from myself, Harriet and Teigan," he started.

"You came into my life when I was only 17-years old and you've taught me so much and I use that every day. Your football career will stack up against some of the greats and you should be really proud mate.

"You've stood up and talked about mental health when not many other people would and you should be really proud of yourself, I know I am and I'm very lucky for you to be part of my life and I can't wait to spend more time with you when you go into retirement."

Darius Boyd is chaired off the field by his teammates.
Darius Boyd is chaired off the field by his teammates.

Boyd has been outspoken about mental health and has often spoken about his battle with depression and mental demons.

The next tribute came from coach Wayne Bennett, with Boyd playing most of his career under the coach at Broncos, Dragons and Knights

"There's probably no one that has a stronger relationship between coach and player than I'm had with you," the legendary coach said.

"It's been an absolute joy, an absolute pleasure to be part of your life and to see all the wonderful achievements you've done in this game. I think it's quite a remarkable record, it will stand the test of time and will stand amongst the best we've ever had in this game.

"As you know better than everyone else the battles that you've had to overcome, I think it's one of the reasons we've been such good friends. I've admired what you've done there.

"I've always had your back. I certainly did understand the challenges that you faced and I loved the way you about facing them. We've had a wonderful career together. I know whatever you want to do after football you'll be successful at because that's just who you are and your challenge is to find out what it is that you want to do.

"But well done on a great career, it doesn't stop now, our friendship will go on forever and I look forward to when I can see you again."

Darius Boyd and Wayne Bennett have a special relationship.
Darius Boyd and Wayne Bennett have a special relationship.

Boyd was near speechless after the tributes, needing a moment to compose himself.

"It's hard not to get upset after those," he said.

"I said earlier this week that rugby league is a great game, it's given me a lot, but the most I take out of rugby league is the friendships and people I meet and the man that rugby league's turned me into. So very grateful for those two people speaking, my wife, my kids up in the stands and grateful to this great game."

Boyd said he hopes to stay in rugby league post career as well as doing more work in the mental health space in community programs.

 

Originally published as Bennett tribute leaves Boyd speechless



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