THERE'S not a relationship in rugby league that compares to Wayne Bennett and Darius Boyd.
But as Boyd has stressed previously, the bond is not a "father-figure relationship".
It's more a "business working relationship". Its next verse, as captain and coach of a flagship Broncos club, gets its first ink against premiers Cronulla on Thursday.
This chapter almost came to an abrupt end nearly six years ago, when Boyd had the world at his feet, but all he wanted was to go home.
With Bennett taking up a lucrative offer to join Newcastle at the start of 2011, Boyd spent the best part of six months weighing up whether to follow him to the Knights, or stay at St George Illawarra, or take up a $1.5 million, three-year Titans deal that would sever ties with Bennett, the only NRL coach Boyd had ever known.
"I'd been away for a long time and I really wanted to go home, back home where my grandma was," Boyd told foxsports.com.au.
"My friends and family, I was really missing them at that point and I was flying home almost every weekend.
"I was lucky, at the time the Dragons were playing a lot of Friday night games so I used to fly back a lot of weekends.
"I was just homesick and sick of being away.
"I was really close. I was seriously considering the Titans for a long time; I was ready to go a couple of times."
For a then-24-year-old with off-field troubles starting to take serious hold, the lure of family loomed strong.
A teenage Boyd had already once considered putting his crack at the NRL on hold until the Titans re-entered the competition in 2007.
Delphine Boyd, the grandmother who raised him, was living on her own on the Gold Coast, and wasn't getting any younger.
George Mimis - both Boyd and Bennett's long-time seven-percenter - sat his client down with pen and paper to decide his future.
"The pros of staying with Wayne were obvious: I was going to become a better football player and a better person hopefully as well," Boyd said.
"The only reason I really wanted to go home was to be home. But your career's so short and you're lucky if you can get 10, 12 or 15 years out of it.
"So I thought you may as well do whatever you can to become a better footballer and person, and that meant sticking with Wayne and I think it's worked out."
It has worked out, with time.
NRL-wide, Boyd is the best footballer in his position, one that features contenders Tedesco, Moylan, Slater, Trbojevic and Hayne.
To those that actually matter - friends, family, teammates and himself - Boyd is an infinitely better person.
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