Broncos great Justin Hodges insists club captain Darius Boyd still has plenty to offer the side at either centre or on the wing next season where his experience will be vital for a young squad.
The 32-year-old will return to training next week and while it is yet to be decided where he will play, NRL.com understands centre or wing are both possibilities with Anthony Milford likely to partner Brodie Croft in the halves and Jamayne Isaako set to have a crack at fullback.
Boyd, who moved from fullback to five-eighth this year, won a premiership with the Broncos in 2006 on the wing where he also scored 16 of his 17 tries for the Queensland Maroons. He has played in the centres at NRL level and also with success for Queensland.
Hodges spoke to media about Boyd's future in Brisbane on Wednesday as he prepared for a boxing showdown with Toronto Wolfpack forward Darcy Lussick in Sydney on December 6 where the duo will be on the undercard of the Tim Tszyu v Jim Brubaker event.
Hodges said Boyd's move from fullback to five-eighth "disrupted him a little bit" this year but said he would handle another backline positional switch.
"I think he wants to try and have a go in the centres which is not a bad position when you get older. He has done a lot of yardage at the back as a fullback," Hodges said.
"I think he can go back to the centres or even the wing. He has played a lot of wing for Queensland where he is our second highest try scorer after GI.
"I think he is valuable in that position as well where you can bring him off the wing, especially in good ball where he can play a fullback role and link up. There are different options that Seibs can play around with."
With Matt Gillett now retired, Boyd and Alex Glenn are the only players in Brisbane's squad over 30 with many of the rest in their early 20s or even younger. It is the value of Boyd's vast experience in 317 NRL games that Hodges said could not be underestimated.
"I know people are asking that he be demoted as captain and to retire but you still need that older head and experience, and that is what he brings," Hodges said.
"He is a guy that you still need around the club. He has won premierships and done everything in the game and deserves the right way out on his terms.
"Obviously he didn’t have the best year but you can’t put him down for having one bad year when he’s had 13 other good seasons. Hopefully he will prepare well and get to work… and everyone gets behind him."
The Broncos are expected to announce the signing of Storm half Brodie Croft in the near future and Hodges, who has coached the 22-year-old, said he would be a valuable acquisition.
"I have spent a bit of time with Brodie with the Queensland 20s and I think it is a wonderful thing for the Broncos. He is still young but he has been around some great players and been through a wonderful system down there at the Storm," Hodges said.
"For young guys coming through like Tom Dearden and Cory Paix, having a guy like Brodie there is going to help them. He is like a mini-Cooper Cronk.
"Hopefully he can control the side and that frees guys up like Milford to roam around and play his natural game which is eyes-up football."
Hodges had his eyes-up in the gym on Wednesday as he prepared for what he predicted would be a tough battle with former Sea Eagles and Eels forward Lussick.
"He is a big aggressive guy and likes to intimidate people. We’ve seen that on the football field. He is going to come out hard but we’ve got to keep our distance, wait for him t get tired and then hopefully take him to work," Hodges said.
"The prep has been good. I am really looking forward to getting it done and having a beer afterwards."