The truth about Bennett’s involvement in four-year Darius deal
Wayne Bennett has been blamed for a lot of things throughout his career, many in relation to the state in which he has left his old clubs.
But you can’t blame him for this one.
Contrary to one narrative that has been told, the four-year deal the Broncos offered Darius Boyd to keep him at the club until the end of 2021 wasn’t a gesture of goodwill from Bennett.
Bennett had nothing to do with the deal.
At the start of 2017, Bennett sat down with Broncos chief executive Paul White, recruitment manager Peter Nolan and board member Darren Lockyer.
Boyd, who was coming off contract that year, was the topic of conversation.
It wasn’t a long meeting. There wasn’t much to debate, really. Because all parties agreed Boyd – then considered a top 10 player in the game – should finish his career as a Bronco.
White told those in the meeting that he would take the lead in negotiations with Boyd’s agent, George Mimis.
Bennett deliberately stayed out of the discussions about the length of the deal, how much money the club was willing to spend.
He simply told the club he wanted him around.
“Darius’s contracting at the time of negotiation was a matter between the CEO and myself,” Mimis told NRL.com.
“Wayne’s involvement from my understanding was nothing more than to validate that he wanted to keep Darius at the club.”
It took months for the deal to be reached. There were plenty of provisions and clauses in the contract that needed time to nut out.
While it was announced as a four-year deal, NRL.com understands there are conditions in the contract, including the fourth year of the deal being an option in Boyd’s favour.
However there are also believed to be some caveats underneath the terms.
Boyd is now in the second year of his four-year extension, however most clubs include certain provisions in the contracts in relation to ageing players to protect themselves in case of injury, form slumps and possible mental health issues.
There were also some discussions around life after football, and how Boyd could use his experiences to help the club in its programs with schools and the community, especially in relation to mental health.
In previous deals that Boyd had signed, he had a coaching clause put in that allowed him to leave if Bennett was no longer at the helm.
But this time around no such clauses were included. Bennett wasn’t involved in discussions, and there was also a realisation from all involved that he should finish his career at the Broncos.
It’s why Boyd didn’t bat an eyelid when his career-long coach walked out the exit doors for South Sydney last year. The fullback was always staying.
In the pre-season he was running personal best times for sprints. His body was in the best condition it had been in years.
But his form during the opening two months of the season has left many wondering how many years he has left in him.
All those months spent working out clauses and provisions may prove beneficial for all involved in the coming months/years.