Boyd set for Storm show­down

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - PETER BADEL

THE Bron­cos have re­ceived a huge boost with Bris­bane medi­cos giv­ing Dar­ius Boyd the green light for a full­back duel with Billy Slater in Fri­day night’s grand-fi­nal qual­i­fier against the Storm.

The cav­alry is re­turn­ing at the per­fect time for the Bron­cos, who will wel­come back in­spi­ra­tional skip­per Boyd and boom for­ward Te­vita Pan­gai Jr from ham­string in­juries for the block­buster at AAMI Park.

It has been an ag­o­nis­ing fort­night for Boyd and Pan­gai Jr, who have missed Bris­bane’s first two fi­nals games af­ter suf­fer­ing ham­string strains in the Bron­cos’ 20-10 de­feat of the Cow­boys in Townsville.

But classy cus­to­dian Boyd is ready to be un­leashed on the Storm and Slater, the full­back ri­val who stole his Queens­land jumper three months ago af­ter the Ma­roons’ heavy loss in Ori­gin I.

Bron­cos coach Wayne Bennett has taken a cau­tious ap­proach but Bris­bane high­per­for­mance chief Jeremy Hick­mans says Boyd has made a suf­fi­cient re­cov­ery.

“I ex­pect Dar­ius to play,” Hick­mans said in the wake of Bris­bane’s 13-6 sud­den-death dis­posal of Pen­rith on Fri­day night at Sun­corp Sta­dium.

“Phys­i­cally, his ham­string is fine, it’s now just a men­tal thing and whether Dar­ius be­lieves he is ready to go.

“He was re­ally close to play­ing against Pen­rith, we got through that fi­nal ses­sion OK but Dar­ius later told us he wasn’t 100 per cent com­fort­able.

“Dar­ius will train the whole week. He should be fine. I would be very sur­prised if he doesn’t play.”

Boyd’s im­pend­ing re­turn is a ma­jor fil­lip for the Bron­cos.

While he is renowned for his peer­less op­tion-tak­ing in three-on-two sit­u­a­tions in at­tack, Boyd is also a bril­liant com­mu­ni­ca­tor.

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