An unlikely ally has thrown his considerable weight behind “unsung hero” Josh McGuire’s Queensland selection claims – giant NSW rival prop James Tamou.
McGuire has started the NRL season strongly, averaging 153m a game after forcing his way into Brisbane’s starting front row upon his return from an eight-month Achilles injury.
But he hopes to make a State of Origin statement when he lines up against North Queensland’s Test front row of Tamou and Matt Scott in Friday night’s NRL grand final re-match.
Yet Blues prop Tamou reckoned he had already seen enough to be convinced he will be lining up against the Brisbane bruiser when the Origin series starts in June.
“I think so. I am a big fan of Josh,” Tamou said.
“He is their unsung hero.
“He does a lot of work with the ball but behind the scenes he does all the one per cent worker stuff.
“He will be nipping at the heels of the Queensland front rowers.”
McGuire earned his Origin debut last year, playing the first two games off the bench before injury struck.
But McGuire is believed to be pressuring Maroons starting prop Nate Myles to keep his spot ahead of the June 1 opener.
Tamou believed McGuire could state a convincing Origin case with Kiwi co-captain Adam Blair by his side at the Broncos.
“For sure. He’s another one who does strong hit-ups but does all the dirty work behind the scenes,” Tamou said.
“He never gives up. He will try and get in our faces, be aggressive, try and put us off our job.”
Tamou noted that second-phase play complemented by a power game helped Penrith topple Brisbane 23-22 last round.
But the Kiwi-born prop reckoned North Queensland would stick to their own gameplan in a bid to snap a four-game losing run at Suncorp Stadium against Brisbane.
“There was a lot of power running from the Panthers and offloads will kill any team,” he said.
“But we will stick with what we know.”