DARIUS Boyd's life has been like a roller coaster since he won his first NRL premiership with the Broncos in 2006.
Now much older and wiser, the champion fullback admitted he had just been along for the ride when a star-studded Brisbane overcame the Melbourne Storm in the decider nine years ago.
"I was pretty young," he said. "There were plenty of stars in the team ... Shane Webcke, Brad Thorn, and young players like Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker and Darren Lockyer.
"This time I feel more a part of it, a lot more experienced and a guy who can lead from the front and help the young players through.
"I will enjoy this week and cherish the moment."
His journey from a 19-year-old follower to a 28-year-old leader certainly hasn't been all smooth sailing.
He recently revealed on the ABC's award-wining Australian Story that he grew up without a father, and that his mother walked out on him when his was 15 to deal with her depression.
Last year, Boyd's own struggle with the silent enemy and the dark places it took him, finally broke him.
He hit such a low he walked away from the game to seek professional assistance which, thankfully, helped him turn his life around.
"I got in that bubble of negativity and I just couldn't get out," Boyd told Australian Story.
Life now seems so much brighter.
He has reconnected with his mother after nine long years, and repaired the relationship with his wife Kayla who earlier this week gave birth to their baby daughter Willow, just a few days after her husband scored a bizarre try in the first minute of the 31-12 win over the Roosters that put the Broncos into Sunday's grand final.
"It's been a pretty special week, you don't get two such amazing things happen to you like that in a week too often," said Boyd, who could top it off with a third premiership win in Sydney on Sunday.
- WAYNE HEMING
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