Darius Boyd in action for the Kangaroos.
Darius Boyd in action for the Kangaroos. TONY MCDONOUGH

Boyd prepares to face mentor Bennett in Four Nations

AUSTRALIAN fullback Darius Boyd is not used to being an enemy of Wayne Bennett.

But, that's what he'll be when the Kangaroos face England in their Four Nations showdown this weekend.

Boyd, who has yet to suffer a defeat in his 20 appearances for his country, will play against a Bennett-coached side for the first time in his career.

The only coach Boyd has had in his NRL career, Bennett helped the 29-year-old in his battle with mental health issues.

Boyd followed the seven-time premiership winning coach from Brisbane, to St George Illawarra and to Newcastle before reuniting with him again at the Broncos in 2014.

"I've never played against Wayne before,” Boyd told reporters. "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.”

Wayne Bennett (left) speaks with Darius Boyd (centre) and Corey Parker during a Brisbane Broncos training session last season.
Wayne Bennett (left) speaks with Darius Boyd (centre) and Corey Parker during a Brisbane Broncos training session last season. DAVE HUNT

While he expected Bennett to have "a few tricks up his sleeve”, Boyd also thought that his deep knowledge of Bennett's coaching style and persona could be an advantage for the Kangaroos. 

"I just think [Bennett] will play the way he always tries to play a team, which is to complete your sets and defend well and hold in there and grind,” Boyd said.

"If you can keep the other team down to a low score, you can always get a try or two and come home and match it and come home with a win. 

"I'm sure that's what he'll be telling his blokes.”

England must beat Australia at the London Olympic Stadium next Sunday morning [AEST] to have any chance of qualifying for the final at Anfield on November 20.

Boyd said Bennett's influence will improve England.

Once were Knights ... coach Wayne Bennett with Darius Boyd and Dane Gagai in 2013.
Once were Knights ... coach Wayne Bennett with Darius Boyd and Dane Gagai in 2013. Tony Feder

"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.

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

Boyd played down the significance of his remarkable unbeaten record which stems back to his debut in 2008.

"I've been very lucky, I've missed a few games over the years through injury,” he said. "But hopefully it can continue for at least two more games.”

Australian coach Mal Meninga is expected to name his top side for the showdown with England.


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