Having ensured Justin Hodges will play out the remainder of his career in Brisbane, the Broncos last night outlined plans to step-up talks with Darius Boyd in coming days as they look to bring the Queensland State of Origin star back to the club.
Hodges signed a three-year deal with the Broncos yesterday, meaning the 29-year-old will finish his career where it started more than a decade ago. Officials are hoping to follow that coup with another by convincing Boyd to return to Brisbane next season.
It won’t be easy. Newcastle has made it clear that Boyd is central to its plans and the Knights have a significant factor weighing in their favour — the presence of Boyd’s mentor Wayne Bennett, who will join the club next year.
The Dragons are also intent on retaining Boyd. Given the fierce competition for Boyd’s signature, and the likelihood Newcastle will weigh in with a larger offer, the Broncos face an uphill battle. That said, they plan to at least test the waters by opening talks with Boyd’s manager George Mimis.
Broncos general manger of football Andrew Gee confirmed the club had briefly spoken to Mimis, who also manages Hodges, about Boyd but would now look to step-up negotiations.
Hodges’ signing was crucial given the club will lose a significant chunk of experience when captain Darren Lockyer retires at the end of the season. Interestingly, Boyd could also help fill the void created by Lockyer’s departure.
With Josh Hoffman having bedded down the Broncos fullback spot, Boyd has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Lockyer in the No 6 jersey.