NRL: Newcastle stalwart seeks treatment for depression

By Steve Zemek, Roje Adaimy

Darius Boyd last week caused $1629 of damage to a luxury hotel room. Photo / Getty Images
Darius Boyd last week caused $1629 of damage to a luxury hotel room. Photo / Getty Images

Watching Alex McKinnon battle a devastating back injury contributed to Darius Boyd's battle with depression, Wayne Bennett says.

The Newcastle fullback yesterday checked himself into a Sydney mental health facility and has been granted indefinite leave by the NRL club.

The club said there was no guarantee the 27-year-old would play again this season.

Boyd has endured a tumultuous fortnight which began with a bizarre encounter with a television reporter.

Last week, Boyd caused A$1500 ($1629) damage to a luxury hotel room in the Hunter Valley after breaking a television, smashing a glass and putting a hole in a wall. He later rang the resort's general manager to apologise and offered to pay for the damage.

Knights coach Bennett said the negative publicity surrounding the incident had not contributed to Boyd seeking help.

Bennett is the only coach Boyd has played under during his professional career and sees the master coach as a father figure.

He first came under Bennett's tutelage as a 19-year-old at Brisbane before following him to St George Illawarra and Newcastle.

Bennett said the 20-Origin and 17-test representative had instigated the decision to seek help after working with a counsellor for several weeks.

Asked if McKinnon's plight had taken a toll on Boyd's state of mind, Bennett said: "I have no doubt it has. I wouldn't say it's the whole issue but it has been a part thereof.

"His best friend is Alex McKinnon, there's no doubt about that.

"Everyone's here for him and he knows that so he has got plenty of support."

Men of League chief executive Corene Strauss praised Boyd for having the strength to seek treatment and hoped it prompted other players not to suffer in silence. AAP

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