McGuire shrugs off 'Roos disappointment
It's been a big old year for The Big Show.
A maiden call-up to the Queensland Origin squad.
A representative tug-of-war that had the Maroons, Kangaroos, Samoa and at one stage New Zealand all clamouring for his services.
An average of 130 metres and 35 tackles a game that ensured he was one of the first names pencilled onto the Broncos team sheet each week. And those hefty numbers should result in a similarly robust increase in the digits on his payslip when he inks a new contract sometime in the next 12 months.
It's been a big year on the field and an even bigger one off it for 24-year-old Josh McGuire, who became a first-time father to now five-month old daughter Maiya mid-way through the year, and is set to tie the knot with partner Tanyssa on November 29.
As he gears up for Toa Samoa's opening Four Nations encounter with England, we put on our Captain Obvious cap and float a theory – could the success McGuire's enjoying on the park be somehow related to the brave new world of fatherhood he's just entered off it?
"It's definitely changed me; it just gives you something else to play for really," McGuire told NRL.com.
"[Fatherhood gives you] a responsibility. Your actions don't just involve you any more. They involve your partner and your kids.
"On and off the field you've always got to be professional. It's something else to think about and care for. I'm just excited, I want more! It's great. It's a life changer. "
Not to mention a game changer. The same day Maiya was born in late May, McGuire jumped aboard a flight to Sydney, threw on the boots and churned through 114 metres, 15 runs and 45 tackles against the Tigers.
The Aspley junior has played 14 games since, and run for 140 metres or more and made at least 38 tackles in eight of them. It's the same head down, posterior well and truly up approach that has made McGuire one of the most sought-after young props in the game, and one he's happy to adopt around the house.
"I'm very hands on, I'm one of six boys so I'm very used to kids," McGuire says.
"I love to do as much as I can when home. As a professional athlete you're away a lot, so my partner Tanyssa is amazing and the work she does when I'm away – I can't thank her enough.
"But when I'm home I'm very hands on. I like to get in there and feed her, do the nappies. There's no job that I think I can't do."
So winding up in the Samoan Four Nations squad, after coming within a whisker of being named in Tim Sheens' Kangaroos cohort, is actually a pretty natural fit for McGuire, who qualifies through the Samoan heritage of his New Zealand-born mother Karlene.
"It is different to any other camp that you go to when you play for Samoa," he says.
"I played in 2010 and the boys are very close. It's very family orientated. Everyone here's very professional and hungry to have success in the competition. The boys have been training well and we're excited for our first Four Nations."
Having played two tests for Toa Samoa at the age of 20, McGuire's representative allegiances have been a bone of contention pretty much ever since. Under the current rules a player is permitted to make one change to their country of choice per World Cup cycle, meaning he can turn out for Samoa in the Four Nations and still play for Queensland and Australia in the future.
But had he made that call earlier in the year for Samoa's mid-year clash with Fiji – a 32-16 win that earned them a call-up to the Four Nations – then he would have used up his switch, and according to Maroons insiders, have placed a future Origin spot in jeopardy.
It's a dance McGuire's getting somewhat used to, so after once again being passed over for a Kangaroos spot after playing in the Prime Minister's XIII last week (the PM's XIII team is not classed as an official Australian side, so this game doesn't affect his eligibility), the blockbusting prop is concentrating on his chance to represent Toa Samoa, and not the disappointment of missing out on the Australian side.
"It's definitely a goal of mine still [to play for Australia] but at the moment I'm 100 per cent focused on Samoa and doing the job for them," McGuire says.
"I watched the mid-year Test. I didn't go to that game; I decided to watch... you only get one change so it is what it is. But I was very excited when the boys won. I was very happy for them and happy for the country.
"[A Kangaroos berth] is hopefully something that will arise one day but at the moment I'm committed to playing for Samoa and playing my best footy. The opportunity to play against the best in the world and to represent my mum's heritage is a great opportunity. I'm looking forward to it."