South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett has piled on the pain for Brisbane Broncos fans, slamming the decision of former coach Anthony Seibold to strip club great Darius Boyd of the captaincy.
Seibold, who replaced Bennett as coach of the club prior to the 2019 season, handed the captaincy to Alex Glenn for the 2020 season after the Broncos were on the wrong side of an embarrassing 58-0 thrashing by Parramatta in last season’s finals.
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Boyd will play the final game of his lengthy NRL career on Thursday night, when he starts at fullback against the North Queensland Cowboys.
There is well documented friction between Seibold and Bennett, with the latter once again taking a potshot at his rival by questioning the decision to remove Boyd from the Broncos’ captaincy.
Boyd played under Bennett for 13 seasons, and earned the captaincy under the NRL coaching great’s guidance.
“(Seibold) should never have sacked him as Broncos captain, never,” Bennett told The Courier Mail in the lead-up to Thursday’s game.
“You only have to watch the players now. When the shit hits the fan, who do they go to? Darius. Who’s the number one spokesman in the club? Darius.
“He is a leader of men and he has conducted himself with absolute class in what has been a very difficult season.
“He is the de facto captain still, believe me. He is the one the players still run to.
“He is the one they want to talk to because he has been in those places himself.”
Wayne Bennett remains perplexed over Darius Boyd captaincy call
Bennett said the numerous challenges, both personal and professional, that Boyd has faced in his life were the reason he gave him the captaincy.
One of the NRL’s most senior players, Boyd has been frank about his battles with mental health in years past, as well as the fact he has never met his father.
These reasons, combined with his standing among players, were the reason Bennett handed Boyd the job.
““I made him captain because he needed more responsibility. The older players get to a stage where they need something else and I saw his personal development,” Bennett said.
“Every high and low you can have in life, Darius has had it. He was strong enough to tell the world he was putting himself in a rehab centre and needed treatment.
“One thing you want from a captain is empathy and the ability to care about their teammates.
“It’s not all about the football, it’s about our lives away from football, about our lives with each other, we spend so much time with each other.
“He will always be one of the great players I have coached in my mind. Nothing will ever change my mind.”
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