Boy oh Boyd, Darius is the one to watch
Wayne Bennett confided in me several years ago that he saw a lot of Darren Lockyer in a young and an up-and-coming Darius Boyd.
After Boyd posted his first hat-trick in eight seasons, Bennett went public with his thoughts.
"Darius has always been an excellent player," Bennett said.
"In 2010 he was fabulous. He was in the Darren Lockyer mode at fullback.
"Darius has had good periods since then, but not at the level he was in 2010.
"I remember giving him a really high rating at different stages that season.
"He's got some confidence back and he's got over his Achilles and being picked for Queensland and Australia at fullback have brought the best out in him."
When he spoke to me about Boyd, Lockyer was the game's best player wearing the No.1.
It was quite a compliment for the young Boyd from a respected coach who had been involved with likes of Wally Lewis, Gene Miles, Allan Langer, Kevin Walters, Steve Renouf and so many more wonderful players.
Bennett was talking about Boyd's balance, his footwork, his training ethic and, yes, his exciting talent.
Not surprisingly, Bennett kept Boyd in every team he coached since, including sharing a premiership win with St George Illawarra before taking on the Newcastle job. Now they are at Red Hill where their partnership first began as the Broncos hone in on a seventh premiership.
Boyd could not have picked a tougher time to emerge as a world-class fullback, running into Billy Slater, arguably the best of all time and then the incomparable Greg Inglis.
But, to his credit, he plied his trade at NRL until recently getting his chance to wear the Queensland and Australia No.1 - producing near man-of-the-match performances in both representative games.
His hat-trick of tries in nine minutes against Canberra on Thursday night - his first since round one in 2008 - had Bennett and others drawing comparisons with his best NRL season in 2010.
Boyd, however, passed the credit for his three tries over to the hard work of his forwards who did a job on Canberra physically in the middle.
"We were very disappointing in New Zealand, we didn't turn up with any energy or enthusiasm and we just wanted go out and play well for our fans," said the three-try hero.
"They were strong and physical and in our faces early on and our defence had to be up to it.
When told Bennett had compared his current form to his 2010 breakout year Boyd said it was difficult for him to line them up.
"That's hard to say, I just know things are happy on and off the field," he said.
Boyd, who was playing his third game in nine days, will join several of his Brisbane teammates back into Queensland camp early next week looking to lock up at 10th State of Origin series in the past 11 years.
"I got lot of confidence playing fullback for Australia and to wear the No.1 jumper for the first time for Queensland was also huge," he said. "It's why you play rugby league - to play on the big stage and I am looking forward to it.
"Going into camp on a win, you can give the other boys some stick and Alfie (Brisbane great Allan Langer) loves to remind people who are going well and who aren't.
Boyd doesn't have to worry about that, he is going great, just ask Wayne Bennett.