NSW captain Boyd Cordner

A true mark of the sort of character that swirls around inside Boyd Cordner could be found during the week at the True Blues dinner at The Star.

Before he was grilled about the five debutants in the 2019 NSW Origin side, Cordner took the time to offer his congratulations to Queensland halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, who only minutes before Cordner spoke to the media was announced as the new Maroons captain.

"Congratulations to him – he deserves it. He's been in and around the Queensland team for a while and knows what it takes to play Origin. I know he will do a good job," Cordner said.

Cordner wasn't even asked a question directly about Cherry-Evans. But because the captaincy means so much to this Old Bar Pirates junior, he knew something of the pride the Mackay Brothers junior would be feeling pumping through his veins.

It shows the selfless side of Cordner, the empathy and concern he shows his teammates, which they all find so endearing.

And if you don’t believe me, let's hear what a few former NSW Blues captains have to say about the current leader.

NSW captain Boyd Cordner.
NSW captain Boyd Cordner. ©NRL Photos

"I like Boyd because he's more action than words. He gets things done, effectively and efficiently," eighth Immortal, Andrew Johns, told NRL.com.

"All the players respect him – he doesn't need to say much… just does great stuff… they are the best type of captains."

The strong, steely side of Cordner also catches the eye for another former skipper – now Blues selectors – Danny Buderus.

"I was really impressed with him last year how he backed up his actions. That's all you want in a leader.

"I love that about Boyd and that's the key to being inspirational for his players. He doesn't over-talk, he just acts."

Trent Barrett, who captained the Blues in 2010, says Cordner has a real presence about him.

"Boyd is one of those blokes I think you can say was born to do the job," Barrett told NRL.com.

"He's an inspirational leader; he's a terrific bloke. He wears his heart on his sleeve and not afraid to do so either.

"He's done the job for us in the past and they all follow him.

"Freddy [coach Brad Fittler] always talks about how when Boyd first came down to the Roosters, how influential he was from the get-go. You talk to Fitzy [NSW assistant coach Craig Fitzgibbon] and others from the Roosters and Boyd was always going to be that player that stood out a bit more as a leader.

"He's had a hard run with injuries too and he's come out the other side," Barrett added.

Boyd Cordner runs out for the Roosters.
Boyd Cordner runs out for the Roosters. ©NRL Photos

"As a past player, a past captain, he's someone you're proud of to lead this state."

Fittler, having been a NSW Origin series-winning captain, knows something about the type of player he wants to see giving the orders on the field.

Johns confessed playfully he had his doubts forwards made good skippers.

"Normally forwards don't have any brains! But we're in the modern world now as we've got educated forwards.

"What's the world coming to?" Johns laughed.

Well it's showing Cordner is having longevity. Next Wednesday will be Origin game number 11 for him and he's already onto his third Queensland captain – Cameron Smith (2018) and Greg Inglis (2019) have both retired.

If Boyd could have his way, you get the feeling arthritic joints and a Senior Citizens Card wouldn't stop him from trying to be an Origin player.

"It's a massive honour to stand on that stage and hear your name called out as part of the NSW team," he said.

"It never gets old… it's always a proud moment in my life."

The Blues have not won a back-to-back Origin series since 2004-05 – the last year of Phil Gould and the first for Ricky Stuart as coaches. From 2006 to 2018, NSW have won 14 of 39 games.

Cordner now has the chance to captain a back-to-back series win – just like Buderus did in 2004-05.

 

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