Boyd locked in at centre for NRL's Broncos

Darius Boyd has received an assurance will be in Brisbane's starting side for the opening NRL round.
Darius Boyd has received an assurance will be in Brisbane's starting side for the opening NRL round.

Dumped Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd has been guaranteed a start at left centre in the NRL season opener by Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold.

But the Broncos mentor admits his spine is still up in the air ahead of Saturday's trial against North Queensland in Cairns.

Boyd's future appeared uncertain when he lost the captaincy after Brisbane's embarrassing 58-0 2019 finals loss to Parramatta amid speculation he may not even crack the Broncos' top 17 this year.

However, Seibold said Boyd had bounced back in the pre-season.

"He will play left centre (in round one). He has had a tremendous pre-season and was outstanding last week (against Queensland Cup outfit CQ Capras)," he said.

"He'll have a rest this week and play 60 minutes against the Gold Coast trial (next week) and he will be ready for round one.

"He has been our best by a distance in that position over the pre-season."

While new recruit Brodie Croft is locked into the halves with Anthony Milford, the race for their No.1 and No.9 jerseys appears wide open.

Fully fit after a 2019 knee injury, Jack Bird will get another chance to press his fullback claims when he starts at No.1 against the Cowboys after impressing against the Capras.

Seibold said Kiwi international Jamayne Isaako was still in the mix and would share the custodian role in Cairns.

"I do think the No.1 is a real shootout," Seibold said.

"I go into it (race for fullback spot) with a pretty open mind.

"Jack has been rewarded for his performance from last weekend.

"Jamayne has to work on some parts of his game and he knows what they are.

"They will split the game this week."

Meanwhile, former Queensland rake Andrew McCullough appears under enormous pressure to earn a start at hooker in 2020.

Jake Turpin finished 2019 in a makeshift halves pairing with Boyd but is clearly in the running to wear the No.9 jersey after an impressive pre-season.

Turpin is set to stake a claim against the Cowboys with McCullough rested until next week's trial against Gold Coast.

"I know what Macca can do and Turps needs an opportunity to show what he can do at No.9 - he'll play around 40 minutes this week," Seibold said of Turpin.

Australian Associated Press