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Boyd unveils his pre-season leadership mission

A revitalised Broncos captain Darius Boyd is on a leadership mission this pre-season to inculcate a defensive mindset into the squad and set not-negotiable benchmark standards for the young players.

Last pre-season Boyd was often training on his own away from the main group while he worked on his injured hamstring, but he returned to pre-season training last week fully fit and without that cloud hanging over his head.

More than 600 games of NRL experience has walked out the door at Red Hill with the retirement of club legend Sam Thaiday and combined exits of Korbin Sims and Josh McGuire.

As a result, Boyd's leadership will be more valuable than ever in the coming months when he will be more hands-on while training with the main squad.

The Broncos conceded 500 points in the regular season in 2018, ranked 11th in the NRL, and that is the key area of the side's play Boyd said needed to be addressed.

Boyd happy to be back training

From personal experience the 31-year-old fullback knows that premierships are won on the back of defence. It was the case in 2006 when the Broncos nullified the Storm in the grand final and in 2010 when Boyd's Dragons broke a 31-year premiership drought on the back of a brick wall defensive line.

"I had an interrupted pre-season last year but this pre-season, for me individually and as a leader, it is important for me to prepare us for we want to achieve in this coming year," Boyd told NRL.com.

"This next few months is going to be really big to get in the young guys heads about what is acceptable and what isn't.

"If you are defensively sound then I think you can be 'on' in most games. That is something we struggled with in particular this year. We were up and down with our defence and whether you put that down to young guys or inexperience I'm not sure, but we need to have a defensive mindset in this pre-season in particular because we know we can score points."

The Broncos acknowledge that rising stars Payne Haas, Jaydn Su'A and David Fifita must acquire the hard edge that made Brisbane's premiership-winning forwards Peter Ryan, Trevor Gillmeister and Tonie Carroll such feared opponents in the past.

Highly rated props Thomas Flegler and Pat Carrigan will also get NRL action this season and Boyd said they would also need to embrace the defensive program.

"They did some great things on the field this year some of those young boys, and I'm certain the ones that haven't played NRL yet will hold their own, but for the younger ones it is all about consistency and playing up to a certain level week-in and week-out that is the hardest part of the NRL," Boyd said.

"If you ask most teams that come up against us they would say we are hard to defend because of our attack and the individual brilliance, but we want to have a hard nose in defence and teach the young guys that is the most important thing."

Boyd is set to enter his third season as Broncos captain, a role he has embraced but also one where he is constantly learning. Far from his best due to injury last season, Boyd is keen to focus more on his own game once the 2019 season kicks off and rely more heavily on his senior players.

"Leadership is not a one-man job I don't think. Yes I'm the captain, but we need a lot of guys in the squad to be playing their part," he said.

"Once the games start I need to probably pull back a bit and focus on being the best I can be and share the [leadership] with Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Andrew McCullough and Anthony Milford, who took the team under his belt last year particularly with his kicking game.

"I thought my last six weeks of the 2018 season were really positive.

"Last year I wasn't allowed to run in my off-season and had to pull out of the World Cup. I came back and was really slow and [the hamstrings] kept playing up on me. Now I am looking forward to picking up where I left off and getting straight into running and what I would usually do in a full pre-season."