Battle lines drawn in McGuire family
Broncos' enforcer Josh McGuire knows comparing the conflict of war to the battle on the football field is inconsequential.
However, with the opening State of Origin game a little over a month away, the Maroons Origin hopeful faces a different kind of battle – one on the home front with his serviceman father, Adam.
McGuire's dad is an avid Blues supporter and spent 28 years in the Australian Army before retiring last year. He was deployed to places such as the Solomon Islands, East Timor and most recently Afghanistan.
"There's only one colour and that's blue," McGuire Sr said on Thursday.
"We've had a running battle for many years – I've got three boys born in New South Wales and three born in Queensland. Mum goes for Queensland and I go for the Blues so it's a bit of a battle."
Despite coming close to Origin selection in recent seasons, Josh looks set to be rewarded for his stellar form in 2015 with a Maroons jersey when the teams are named at the conclusion of Round 10.
Brisbane's No.1 prop has averaged 119 metres and 33 tackles per game this season and also scored a rare try against the Cowboys in Round 2.
Growing up in the western Sydney suburb of Blacktown, McGuire Sr joined the Army with 15 other mates, two of them are still serving.
"I really hope [Josh] makes Queensland – that's what his aim has always been. It's a passion of his and I really hope he gets there," he said.
"I'll still be going for [the Blues] and I hope he goes really well. I've been a very passionate Blues supporter all my life – and an Eels supporter – and Josh has got the Eels this week as well."
Military service runs deep in the McGuire family with four generations having served in the Australian Army since World War I.
Josh's grandfather served in WWII and other family members served in Gallipoli making the 100-year anniversary on Saturday night even more meaningful for the 25-year-old.
Anzac Day will be a long one for Josh, who will attend a dawn service ceremony with his family before taking on the Eels at Suncorp Stadium.
"It's a small price to pay to get up and go to a dawn service; I know a lot of the [Broncos] boys are going to do it," Josh said.
"We've lost a lot of family due to the tragedies of war but their sacrifices give us what we have today. I couldn’t be prouder of my dad and my family for what they’ve done."
Being the eldest of six brothers, Josh would often help his mother look after his younger siblings while his dad was away on active duty.
Upon returning from overseas, McGuire Sr was careful to shield his boys from the horrors of conflict and war.
"My dad didn’t tell us too much when we were growing up. He didn’t want us to worry as kids but now that you're older he does explain a few things to you and it's very humbling to know what [the troops] have done for our country," he said.
"To hear some of the old stories the diggers say it's very crazy to think what they put themselves through for our country and the greater good."
Another strong performance against an Eels pack containing experienced Origin campaigners Anthony Watmough and Tim Mannah could seal the Aspley Devils junior a place on Queensland's bench come Origin I on May 27.
Regardless of their Origin and club allegiances, Josh knows his dad has a great sense of pride every time he watches him play after first watching him live against the Rabbitohs in the Anzac Day blockbuster last season.
"I'm sure he'll be tired and worn down from the day but he loves Anzac Day and he loves Anzac Day footy," he said.
"He and a lot of other mates he has served with are coming along so it should be a special day.
"[Footy] is just a game and we're playing this game on Saturday to show respect for those people and it's a day Australia gets to come together and celebrate."