My issues are mental, not physical: Boyd

Darius Boyd admits he is only a 50-50 chance of making the Queensland Origin team.Hamstring issues may have prompted Darius Boyd to consider retirement this year but the Brisbane skipper says he is facing a mental – not physical – battle to regain form and keep his Queensland spot.
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Boyd, 30, admits he is only a “50-50” chance of retaining his place in the Maroons team to be unveiled on Monday ahead of June 6’s Origin opener after a season start plagued by hamstring dramas.

In March, 28 Boyd even admitted he would quit the game if his lingering, chronic hamstring issues stopped him from regaining top form.

But Boyd said after Brisbane’s 18-10 round 12 NRL win over Parramatta on Thursday night that his only obstacle was in his head.

“It’s a mental thing for me. It’s never been about my hammies. That’s one thing people have probably gotten wrong,” Boyd said.

“It’s just about me trying to direct the team and leading by example, actually worry about my game and what I need to do.

“It definitely felt like one of my better games (against the Eels) and I need to keep improving on that.”

Boyd has successfully battled his mental demons in the past, triumphantly returning to Brisbane and earning the captaincy after quitting footy in mid-2014 to treat depression.

Boyd is vying for Queensland’s left wing spot but Cronulla’s Valentine Holmes is considered the favourite.

Boyd may also get a reprieve and be picked at fullback with an injury cloud hovering over Billy Slater (hamstring).

But asked to rate his Origin selection chances, Boyd said, “50-50.”

The man who knows Boyd best – Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett – insisted the Broncos captain was near top form and would add vital experience to a new look Queensland team.

Skipper Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston (representative retirement), Matt Gillett (neck) and possibly fellow Test backrower Josh McGuire (ankle) will be among the big names not considered for Origin I in Melbourne.

Bennett said he had the best gauge on Boyd’s form after coaching him for his entire 13-season NRL career and liked what he saw on Thursday night.

“He had his best game (of the season on Thursday night),” he said.

“Each week he is getting better.

“I have been coaching him for so long I know him better than anyone else.”

Asked if Boyd should be retained by Queensland, Bennett said: “I would find it hard to leave him out.

“I just love players who have been there and done the job.

“And Darius is not an old football player yet.”

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