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Boyd Cordner: Courageous

Of all the captains to lead the Sydney Roosters out to battle, Boyd Cordner is most revered for his courage, tenacity and championship qualities through one of the most successful periods in Club history.

Name: Boyd Cordner
Nickname: Cords, Boydo
DOB: 09/06/1992
Club Debut: Round 13, 2011 vs Warriors
Roosters Player No. 1119
Premierships: 3 (2013, 2018*, 2019*)
First-Grade Games for Club: 181
First-Grade Points for Club: 202 from 50 tries and 1 goal
Representative Career: 2 games for NSW Country (2013, 2016)
1 game for Prime Minister's XIII (2016)
16 State of Origin Matches for NSW (2013-2020)
20 Test Matches for Australia (2013-2019)
Individual Accolades:  Dally M Second Rower of the Year (2013)
Ashton-Collier Medal (2013, 2019)
Jack Gibson Medal (2015, 2017)
World Cup Winner with Australia (2013, 2017)
State of Origin Series Wins (2013, 2018*, 2019*)
NRL Minor Premierships (2013, 2014, 2015, 2018*)
World Club Challenge Winner (2014, 2019)
NSW State of Origin Captain (2017-2020)
Australian Kangaroos Captain (2018-2019)
Sydney Roosters Captain (2017-2021)
  * denotes as captain

Hailing from the sleepy coastal town of Old Bar in NSW's mid-north coast, Cordner travelled down to Bondi as a promising young teenager, climbing through the ranks before playing in the Club's National Youth Competition (Under 20's) from 2009-2011 - overcoming injuries as a youngster along the way. 

Having impressed the coaching staff with his uncompromising style of play and professionalism, the young back rower got his first taste of NRL against the New Zealand Warriors at the Sydney Football Stadium in Round 13, 2011. From there, he would secure a starting spot in the side, playing the final four matches of the season, with all four leading to victories. 

The following season saw Cordner play 22 matches in the Red, White and Blue, scoring his first try in the top grade and cementing a starting spot in the side. Still eligible for the Under 20's competition, his first display of leadership came when he captained New South Wales to a win over Queensland in the inaugural Under 20's State of Origin match - but the best was yet to come for the young Rooster. 

Season 2013 was Cordner's breakout year - forming a deadly left-edge combination with halfback Mitchell Pearce, which saw him score nine tries in 20 matches while claiming the Dally M Second Rower of the year award as well as the Ashton-Collier Medal in the Roosters' 34-14 Anzac Day victory.  

Making his representative debut for Country and making his first State of Origin appearance for NSW, Cordner then bravely overcame injury to feature in the Club's Premiership triumph as a late call-up to the side in the 26-16 victory. 

With his first Grand Final ring in hand, Cordner's year was topped off with a debut in the green and gold of Australia, where he played in two matches in the World Cup - all at the tender age of 21. 

Boyd is a man of conviction, and his achievements over the years, not only at Club level, but also in the representative arena, reflect the highly-respected man that he is.

Trent Robinson At Cordner's retirement announcement

A World Club Challenge win with the Roosters soon followed, as well as an appearance in the 2014 Anzac Test for the Kangaroos. Cordner's second major trophy came in the form of the State of Origin shield returning to NSW for the first time since 2005 in an emphatic fashion.

Helping lead the Roosters to a third-straight Minor Premiership, Cordner enjoyed his best season to date in the Red, White and Blue in 2015 with 25 appearances, featuring in all three of the Blues' State of Origin matches and culminating in being awarded the Jack Gibson Medal as the Roosters' Player of the Year. 

It was no surprise to see a decline in results for the Tricolours in 2016 as Cordner's season was affected by injuries, however, the Roosters' talisman battled through setbacks to play the final eight matches and celebrating his 100th match in Red, White and Blue.

His true leadership qualities would shine through the following year, named as co-captain of the Roosters alongside Jake Friend, and skipper of NSW - but his brightest moment came in the World Cup Final against England.

Running his trademark damaging line on the left edge, the barnstorming forward crashed over, bowling over fullback Gareth Widdop in the process to score the one and only try in Australia's 6-nil victory.

Awarded his second Jack Gibson Medal after another Preliminary Final finish, Cordner etched himself as one of the Roosters' most valuable players, yet the following two seasons would see him etch himself further as one of the Club's true champion captains. 

Cordner's Midas Touch propelled the Roosters to a Minor Premiership and Premiership double, as well as NSW to a memorable series victory under Roosters Legend Brad Fittler, and by the end of 2018, he was handed the ultimate honour - captaincy of Australia.

Further success came early in 2019 in both team and individual accolades, with a World Club Challenge win, a second Ashton-Collier Medal as well as another Origin Shield for the Blues.

I think the number one thing for me would be to be able to call myself a Rooster, definitely.

Boyd Cordner Sydney Rooster #1119

Climbing the summit once again, Cordner led his teammates to become the first back-to-back Premiers in over 25 years as his Roosters downed the Canberra Raiders in the 2019 Grand Final, capping off one of the finest individual seasons witnessed in Rugby League. 

The Roosters' hopes for a three-peat were severely dented as their captain was rested following a series of head knocks, and would feature in only thirteen games in what was a tumultuous year for the game in 2020, with the first State of Origin match ultimately being his final game of Rugby League. 

Having achieved everything in the code, Cordner officially announced his retirement in 2021, aged 29, leaving a legacy of three Premierships, four Minor Premierships, two World Club Challenge Victories, a World Cup, and two Jack Gibson Medals. 

Boyd Cordner Retirement Press Conference

Head Coach Trent Robinson only had praise for his captain's leadership and selflessness through one of the great careers. 

“Boyd is one of the greatest leaders of men I have seen,” said Robinson.

“At any level of the game, I’m sure that every player who ever stood alongside Boyd would thank him for being the teammate and leader that he was.

“Boyd has been an incredible player and leader for the Roosters and I’ve loved coaching him. Boyd is a man of conviction, and his achievements over the years, not only at Club level, but also in the representative arena, reflect the highly-respected man that he is."

When questioned on his greatest achievement, Cordner replied only the way a true Rooster would:

"I think the number one thing for me would be to be able to call myself a Rooster, definitely." 

In a ten year career, playing through hardship, injuries and turbulence, Boyd Cordner brought success to his Club, State and Country, and will be remembered fondly as one of the most courageous Roosters to have worn the jersey. 

 

More Roosters History on Roosters.com.au

The Origin of the Tricolours

Brett Morris: The Premier Winger

Dave Brown: The Bradman of League