Boyd to take on mentor Bennett

They have one of the closest player-coach relationships in rugby league, and now Darius Boyd will face a Wayne Bennett-coached team for the first time.

Boyd’s career has run parallel with Bennett since he burst into the NRL with the Brisbane Broncos in 2006.

Since then the fullback has racked up 247 appearances for three clubs, all under Bennett.

Boyd followed Bennett from the Broncos to St George Illawarra in 2009, then did the same when the coach jumped ship to Newcastle in 2012. He again followed suit in 2015 when Bennett headed home to Brisbane.

Bennett has long been the father figure in Boyd’s life that the outside back has never had. And now the Kangaroos star will be seeking to knock Bennett’s England side out of the tournament this Sunday in London.

Boyd admits it will be different.

“I’ve had different rep coaches, but I’ve never played against Wayne before,” he told Love Rugby League in Coventry.

“He’s coached me my whole career so it will be something a bit different.

“But at the end of the day, you play against the players not the coach but I’m sure he’ll have a few tricks up his sleeve.

“He’ll be telling them what he always tells his sides: ‘Complete your sets, defend well and hold them in the grind.

“If you can keep a team down to a low score you can always sneak a try and come home with the win.”

Under Bennett’s watch Boyd has gone from a talented young winger to one of the best fullbacks in the world, a two-time NRL grand final winner and a Clive Churchill medal winner.

He has become an integral part of the Queensland and Australian sides, even usurping Greg Inglis from the fullback role.

Boyd believes Bennett will improve England, but warns it won’t be immediate.

England are a dangerous side already with big forwards and a lot of strike power out wide,” he said.

“With Wayne there it adds something extra. But it’s going to take time, it won’t happen overnight.

“The more time they spend under Wayne the better they will be.”

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