Broncos wary of loose Moose
The Broncos are bracing for Cowboys enforcer Josh McGuire to ignite the NRL's greatest rivalry by sledging his former teammates in Friday night's Queensland derby.
McGuire will confront one of the most emotion-charged moments of his decorated NRL career when the Cowboys recruit squares off against his former Broncos teammates for the first time at Suncorp Stadium.
Renowned as one of the code's best nigglers, McGuire has moved to temper the hype, dismissing suggestions he will drag Broncos forwards into the gutter.
But Broncos winger Corey Oates has set the scene for a spicy Queensland derby, claiming McGuire will attempt to unsettle Brisbane players with the type of sledging he dished out to Dragons forward Jeremy Latimore last week.
The Broncos' reputation took a hit last season when the hard-edged McGuire was pilloried for a hair-pulling incident against the Bulldogs which led to his suspension.
"I'm sure there will be a bit of niggle there with the boys," Oates said when asked about taking on McGuire.
"It's always good being on the same side as the stuff 'Moose' (McGuire) comes up with.
"I've never had to come up against it before so it will be interesting to see how he goes about this game.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we see something from Moose to get a reaction from the boys.
"Josh is a leader in their team. He will play a lead role for the Cowboys."
Oates then couldn't resist a cheeky swipe at his former teammate. At 180cm, McGuire has aggression and toughness but lacks the monstrous size of Cowboys hulks Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott and Jordan McLean.
"I will be running at him," Oates said with a laugh. "He's probably the smallest forward they've got … sorry Moose."
Love him or loathe him, there's no disputing McGuire's credentials in the code. The 195-game veteran has amassed 11 seasons of NRL service, playing eight Tests for Australia and 11 State of Origin games for Queensland.
The Kangaroos' incumbent lock, McGuire has been compared to former Maroons hardman Kevin Campion, who played three seasons at Brisbane in 1998-2000 before joining the Cowboys in 2003-04.
"Josh has been wonderful since he walked through the door," Cowboys head of football Peter Parr said.
"I was here when we signed Kevin Campion and Josh has a lot of his attributes.
"Josh has those old-school qualities where he trains hard and plays tough and enjoys that physical aspect of the game.
"From what I can see, he doesn't let little niggles or injuries stop him training.
"`Campo' was an old-school tough footballer when he came here and he taught a lot of our younger players how to play tough. He was a great influence on Matt Scott and the way Josh plays, it can be beneficial to some of our younger forwards like Coen Hess and Mitch Dunn.
"He has trained exceptionally well and bought into what we are trying to do here. He has fitted in well with the other players. We can't be happier with what Josh has contributed so far."
McGuire said he was relishing his move to Townsville.
"I'm excited to be here, that's why I chose to come up," he said.
"It was a something different for me I felt I needed. I'm enjoying my time up here, there's a good bunch of guys at the club.
"The Broncos have a special team, so we have to go down there and play well. I'm sure it will be a great spectacle."