Darius Boyd urged to consider early retirement as Broncos face retention headaches
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Queensland Origin legend Billy Moore has urged Darius Boyd to consider an early retirement to help the Broncos free-up funds to stave-off poaching raids on hulking Brisbane young gun David Fifita. Cashed-up NRL rivals are poised to pick the eyes out of Brisbane’s star-studded roster with Parramatta and the Warriors preparing big-money raids for Fifita, who made his Queensland Origin debut in June. The Broncos did well to upgrade Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai Jr last month, but the $4 million retention drive has left the club with limited funds under the salary-cap to prevail in a bidding war for Fifita.
Brisbane will face fresh retention headaches next season with a number of big-name stars coming off-contract. They include veteran hooker Andrew McCullough, centre sensation Kotoni Staggs and backline aces Anthony Milford and Jack Bird, who have options in their favour.
Darius Boyd has been urged to consider an early retirement to help the Broncos. Picture: Getty Images
Moore believes one solution lies in skipper Boyd walking away 12 months early to give the Broncos a salary-cap war chest. The 32-year-old captain’s future has come under the microscope following his patchy form this season. “If Darius stood down, then financially it would give the Broncos a lot of money under the cap to keep a kid like David Fifita,” Moore said. “If Darius can see that his form and his ability to influence matches has declined, he needs to consider retirement. “When you are earning $700,000 or $800,000 a season, that’s the type of elite money where you dictate whether your team wins a match each week. “I don’t think Darius is playing well enough to do that, so if at the end of 2020, if he has another repeat season of 2019, then he has to consider walking away.”
David Fifita is a signing target for cashed-up NRL clubs. Picture: Getty Images
Boyd has copped savage criticism in recent weeks since his move from fullback to five-eighth, but he hit back at his detractors with an improved display in Brisbane’s gutsy 24-12 defeat of Penrith on Friday night. Former Maroons lock Moore has great respect for Boyd’s 313 games of service in the NRL, but says the skipper’s current contract, worth around $700,000 a season, could be crucial funds to retain the next generation headlined by Fifita. The back-row wrecking ball is off-contract next season, meaning he can field formal offers from November 1 this year.
“It would be a noble move by Darius (to retire early),” Moore said.
Darius Boyd is contracted until the end of 2021. Picture: Getty Images
“Should he do it? Maybe he won’t, but if Darius does walk away, I hope he stays on for the Broncos in an off-field capacity because he has been a wonderful servant for the club. “You hate having these sorts of conversations around great players. You want to see a guy like Johnathan Thurston for example going out on top. “Darius has had a wonderful career, no question, but for Boyd to be able to play on in 2021, there has to be a radical improvement.”