To kick off 2017, we take a look at some of the up-and-coming male and female stars who will hope to represent NSW this year and in the future. Today we look at an Origin darkhorse who turned plenty of heads in the 2016 Four Nations: Shannon Boyd.
Boyd may not have been in the state’s best 17 for too many people ahead of Origin last year, but has emerged as a definite dark horse following a breakout NRL season and Four Nations tour. The 24-year-old, who made his senior representative debut with a VB Country Origin jumper in May 2016, built upon previous seasons to become a key to the Raiders’ forward pack.
At 122kg, Boyd certainly uses his size to his advantage; he is aggressive in defence and can hold up the middle third effectively, which was one reason Canberra came within one game of the decider last year. His selection in Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos squad at the end of the year may have surprised some people, but it was immediately justified with a strong performance against opposite man Jesse Bromwhich. Going on to play strongly from the bench in all four of his international appearances – all of which were wins – Boyd’s best came in the Four Nations Final against New Zealand, where he made 109 metres in just 27 minutes.
The competition for spots on the NSW VB Blues bench and in the front row will be fierce this year; Aaron Woods, David Klemmer, Andrew Fifita and new Panther James Tamou will be in contention once again, while fellow Kangaroos rookie Jake Trbojevic could potentially bring added versatility to the interchange rotation. Boyd’s chances rely heavily on his impact for the Raiders in the opening 10 rounds and many VB Blues fans will be eager to see how he can step up in 2017.