Experts more knowledgeable than this writer call Boyd Cordner one of their most enjoyable players to watch. Andrew Johns said on the Sunday Footy Show that he loves watching him play and is a future superstar, while another expert, the NSW coach Laurie Daley, seems to think he is a star of the present.
The 21-year-old backrower from the Old Bar Pirates has been named alongside Roosters team-mates James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce and Michael Jennings in an extended 20-man squad to play in the deciding Origin match at ANZ Stadium Wednesday week.
If Greg Bird, struggling with an ankle injury, does not recover by the weekend, Boyd could be named in the 17-man squad — most likely off the bench.
He’s coming off a Man of the Match performance against the Dragons and offers everything a team needs: good hole-running, solid defence, ball skills before the line, phenomenal leadership and a high rugby league IQ.
This season, he’s been relatively consistent. In 15 games this year he’s made 401 tackles (26.7 per game), just 25 misses (1.7 p/g) in defence. In attack he has four tries and as many line breaks, and he runs it 10.3 times a game for 87.8 metres per game at 8.5 metres a run with 26 tackle busts.
His biggest early-season weakness, his hands, have also improved. He’s dropped just one ball in the past five matches after averaging one a game prior to round 12, and he’s conceded just three penalties all year — an amazing statistic considering he plays on the most penalised team in the NRL.
He also leads the NRL in patting the backs or heads of teammates after they make an error or need a pick-me-up. Shaun Kenny-Dowall is almost bald after all the head taps Boyd has given him this season.
If he makes the squad, he’d come off the bench and immediately recreate an already-fantastic combination on the left with Jennings and Maloney. But more than that, he’s one guy experts such as Daley and Johns know will do what it takes to win.
NSW coach Laurie Daley has announced a 20-man squad for State of Origin III at ANZ Stadium.