McGuire itching to take the first hit-up
JOSH McGuire has played it out in the backyard as a kid and in his head many times.
Tucking the ball under his arm and charging into the teeth of the NSW forwards all waiting to bash him in the first hit-up of a State of Origin, which is as anticipated in Australian sport as the first ball in a Boxing Day Test match.
"If they kick it my side and I get the opportunity, it would be nice," said McGuire, who declined to say which NSW forward he would head at.
"Origin's more than one hit and I'm just excited to go out there and my goal will be not missing any tackles or dropping the ball."
NSW players will make it their business to find out what McGuire is made of and how he will handle the intense scrutiny of his toughness.
"Obviously Nate (Myles) has been a very dominant player for a decade in that position for Queensland and he will be sorely missed on and off the field," he said of the injured Myles.
"It's going to be very intense and physical and emotional and I just have to make sure I don't let the jersey down or let my teammates down.
"Nate is a hard player to replace. He leads the team and brings a steel edge to the middle of the ruck. I'm just going to play my style and do the best I can do because Kevvy (coach Kevin Walters) has given me that opportunity and I don't want to let him or anyone down."
McGuire laughed off talk of jumping into the ring at the end of the year for a charity fight with NSW skipper Paul Gallen, but conceded they would clash at some stage in the game.
"He's the leader of their pack and I don't expect any more attention than he will be trying to dish out to every other Queensland player," he said.
"He's playing his last year and he will be doing everything he can to go out a winner.
"There's no one-on-one battles in Origin - everyone is trying to kill you. It is what it is. You run hard and tackle whoever is in front of you hard."
McGuire has made a great recovery from an achilles injury last year.
"I did everything I could. I didn't want to come back and find my career was over," he said.