Leaner and definitely meaner, Brisbane prop Josh McGuire is ready to take nine months’ worth of frustration out on Parramatta in their NRL season opener on Thursday night.
McGuire thought 2015 was going to be a year to remember after finally making his State of Origin debut for Queensland in May.
But by June it loomed as one he wanted to forget after breaking down with an Achilles injury before Brisbane launched their NRL title quest.
McGuire suffered the problem against Newcastle in round 16 but it was nothing compared to the agony of watching hopelessly as Brisbane lost a golden point NRL grand final to North Queensland.
“It was hard to watch. I never want to go through that again,” McGuire said.
“I am pretty excited (about Thursday). It is good to be back.”
The 25-year-old McGuire said he was now “fitter than ever” after shaving 4kg off his frame during the long rehabilitation.
“I am lighter, the strongest I have been in the gym – the injury was almost a blessing in disguise to let the body recover,” McGuire said.
The 103kg Maroons prop may be a little lighter but he is still set to throw his weight around in the NRL opener in Parramatta.
Broncos teammate Matt Gillett said McGuire’s fired up display in their recent World Club Series thrashing of Wigan gave an insight into what the Eels could expect from the aggressive prop.
“He played well in that Wigan game, he came back pretty strong,” Gillett said.
“That’s why he plays the game, he is very aggressive.
“We are going to need that.”
Most would be nervous coming back from such a serious injury.
But McGuire said he had not looked back since the Broncos cleared him of the Achilles complaint – and they would know.
Retired Broncos great Justin Hodges twice came back from the same injury as did Darius Boyd just last year.
“I have confidence in the Achilles, it feels like it is brand new,” McGuire said.
“The club has been through a few Achilles, so I trust their judgment.
“If I do it again it’s just unlucky.
“I am not going out there thinking about it.”