Fullback position now Brisbane Broncos’ Achilles heel
RUGBY LEAGUE: Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett was so keen to have fullback Darius Boyd at the club next season he offloaded stars Ben Barba and Josh Hoffman to get his man.
But the Queensland Origin star is likely to miss at least the first 16 weeks of the 2015 season after he suffered a suspected snapped Achilles at training yesterday.
It was a bombshell for the Broncos and came in the most innocuous of circumstances.
The 27-year-old was 40 minutes into the early-morning session at Bardon, just his second after moving back to the club following stints with Bennett at St George-Illawarra and Newcastle, before teammates heard a loud popping sound.
A shattered Boyd was carried to the sidelines for treatment before he limped to a car and was whisked away for scans.
Bennett - a long-time admirer of Boyd - immediately suspected the worst, but retained his pragmatic outlook.
"It's the Achilles. My initial thought is 'that's footy, that's life, we get on with it'," Bennett told News Limited.
"It's a six-month injury and we have to get on with life. It's no one's fault, it just happens. There's nothing we can do now. If you do enough training in life, things like that will happen.
"Halfway through the season he will be back playing for us. We'll manage it while he's away and get on with life."
With Barba and Hoffman gone, the logical replacement at fullback would be Justin Hodges.
Ironically, Hodges has also torn his Achilles twice - one of those coming during a similar pre-season training incident in January 2010.
He was forced to sit out the entire season.
Boyd's absence will have a big impact on the Broncos' premiership chances, with Sportingbet immediately blowing the odds of another title for Bennett out from $9 to $11. The team had been the most heavily supported after signing Boyd, Raiders playmaker Anthony Milford and second-rower Adam Blair.