Brisbane dealt massive injury blow ahead of semi-final

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    Brisbane skipper Darius Boyd has made the brave call to pull out of Friday night’s knockout NRL semi-final with Penrith at Suncorp Stadium due to a hamstring injury.

    Brisbane had been sweating on Boyd after he missed last week’s qualifying final loss to Sydney Roosters and looked set to get the all clear when he completed the majority of Thursday’s training session at Suncorp Stadium.

    However, Boyd still made the tough call to withdraw from the sudden death clash.

    Kodi Nikorima will start at fullback for Boyd with veteran Benji Marshall remaining in the halves with Anthony Milford.

    “He won’t play tomorrow night. It was his call,” Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett said.

    “He just doesn’t feel like he will be at his best.

    “He’s not running at full speed. He’s not at that place where he is not thinking about it all the time.”

    Bennett said Boyd was no guarantee for next week if the Broncos overcame the Panthers on Friday night.

    “He’s always been honest and he is a perfectionist,” Bennett said of Boyd’s call to withdraw.

    “If he doesn’t feel like he can do his best I would rather that (pull out) than him going out tomorrow night and letting everyone down.

    “But he’s no guarantee for next week.”

    Bennett said he was never tempted to reshuffle his backline again despite veteran half Marshall’s quiet effort against the Roosters last week.

    Bennett ruled out repeating last week’s tactic when he started David Mead at fullback and replaced him with Nikorima after the first 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, bench forward Tevita Pangai Junior also succumbed to a hamstring injury on Thursday.

    © AAP 2017

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