Josh McGuire is aiming to lead from the front in Perth.
Josh McGuire is aiming to lead from the front in Perth. Chris Hyde

Alpha Maroon has more in store

HE has been called a 'grub' and is the man New South Wales love to hate.

He is that disliked, former Blues supremo Phil Gould and Paul Gallen believed he should have been rubbed out of the game for months.

But Queensland enforcer Josh McGuire could not care less. In fact, it fuels him.

The Cowboys lock has been a rock for the Maroons for the past six years, bringing his firebrand style to the Origin arena.

He also enjoys bringing the niggle, getting into the heads of his opposition.

And according to the 29-year-old he is not about to slow down now.

"I have been doing it for a long time. I just play footy, my style of footy, some people like it and some people don't. But that doesn't bother me," he said.

"I am happy, my wife is happy and my kids are happy. That's all that matters.

"I haven't changed the way I played footy my whole life and I am not about to start now just to please some people."

Josh McGuire has copped plenty of criticism for his playing style.
Josh McGuire has copped plenty of criticism for his playing style.

One man who is happy to hear those words from McGuire is Queensland legend and fellow roughhouse Billy Moore.

The man famed for showing his 'Queenslander' pride in the tunnels during the state's memorable 1995 Origin cleansweep, believes McGuire epitomises the values in the word.

And he believes Queensland will use his fiery attitude to win the battle of the packs.

"You have to have that fire and that passion, now more than ever," Moore said. "They (NSW) have lost their big alpha male in (David) Klemmer.

"His start of game one was amazing, he laid a platform that propelled them forward. But McGuire was the man to stand up and combat that.

"He is going to come more to the forefront this game. He is going to be this game's alpha, it is all he knows. He does it physically and he does it verbally."

McGuire locks horns with Cameron Murray in the series opener. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
McGuire locks horns with Cameron Murray in the series opener. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

Moore believes the tough-as-nails 'grub' will stand strong in the middle of the field, knocking down each front-rower the Blues send his way.

"What he has got to say is 'who's next, who is coming down the middle?' You know he is going to stand there front and centre and dispatch any who try," Moore said.

"I do get excited watching Origin forward battles, but I look at that psychological there. He wins that with his niggle. He does his job, but he always puts a reserve of energy to s*** stir.

"He has been getting called (grub) for years. That won't bother him. I think what would bother him was if they were nice to him."

The battle of the forwards will have more importance for the Maroons this game with the return of Blues five-eighth James Maloney.

McGuire's defence in the middle of the ruck will be critical. AAP Image/Darren England.
McGuire's defence in the middle of the ruck will be critical. AAP Image/Darren England.

Maloney used his experience last season to help dummy-half Damien Cook every time he spotted a half gap. It was something NSW were missing in game one at Suncorp.

McGuire will be the one attempting to lead from the front for the Maroons pack - galvanising a group of young forwards with his experience.

While partners in crime Matt Gillett (19) and Josh Papalii (12) have plenty of experience in the Maroons jersey, the rest of the forward pack, including the bench, have a combined 17 games between the five of them.

"He wants to be the alpha male for the Queenslander boys, to set a platform for the other blokes to follow," Moore said.

"There would be very few things come at him in Perth that he hasn't seen already.

"He has learnt it off some great players, Matt Scott, Nate Myles, Corey Parker and Sam Thaiday. He has learnt off some of the greatest forwards Queensland has ever produced. And now he passes that on to Napa and Fifita and the rest of the pack."

McGuire said his experience was the big thing that he wanted to bring to Queensland as they set out to wrap up the series, and push for a whitewash in Sydney next month.

"I have been here a long time now, I have been here for six years. I like to bring that experience," he said.

"I play big minutes in the middle and I just get in there and do my job. Kevvie (Walters) knows what he is going to get when I am on the field."