'Excited' McGuire to finally live Origin dream
It's been four seasons in the making but come next Wednesday night Josh McGuire will finally fulfil a boyhood dream when he comes off the bench for Queensland in the Holden State of Origin series opener.
The Brisbane Broncos prop will become the 180th player to appear for the Maroons when he makes his debut at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on May 27.
"It's a dream come true to be honest," McGuire said. "It was very exciting to get the call and I've wanted to do this since a kid, so to be a part of it and experience it is very exciting."
"It's been something I've wanted to do and been a goal of mine since I was 14 and started playing football. I've just always wanted to pull on a Maroon jersey."
McGuire needed to be patient on his journey into the Maroons squad, having first been selected in the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Emerging Origin Squad in 2012 and again in 2013.
The Aspley Devils junior was named as 18th man for Queensland in Game Three last year, but can now finally call a Maroons jumper his own in 2015 at the age of 25.
"I think good things come to those who wait and I've just been trying to do my job [at the Broncos] and now I've finally got that opportunity and I don't want to lose it," he said.
"Like anybody I wanted to play last year but it is what it is and I'm just very excited to be here this year.
"I just want to do my job and not let anyone down."
McGuire certainly hasn't let the third-placed Brisbane Broncos down this season, averaging 127 metres, 35 tackles and eight tackle bust from nine games.
However, when you take out McGuire's stats from Brisbane's Round 3 clash against the Cowboys, where he only played only 20 minutes due to concussion, the prop's numbers increase to 137 metres and 38 tackles per game – a slight improvement on last season's average of 134 metres and 37 tackles.
"I always want to get better every year," McGuire said when asked whether his form this season has been the best of his seven seasons in the NRL.
"It's a goal of mine to play better footy each year and improve and learn off the guys around me and I think I'm doing that."
Now 122 games into a career which began against the Warriors in Round 3, 2009, McGuire couldn't hide his exhilaration once news of his Maroons call-up became official.
"My manager called me to let me know I was invited into camp with the rest of the boys – I thought he was pulling my leg at the start," he said.
"I was jumping around the house a little bit and had my brothers around so it was very exciting.
"I packed my bags straight away and went to bed early to be ready to go into [camp on Monday]."
Josh should have some idea what awaits him in the representative arena having already played six Tests for Samoa by virtue of his mother, Karlene, who is of Samoan descent.
He is the eldest out of six brothers with two of them born in Queensland and the other three born in New South Wales, ensuring battle lines will be drawn in the McGuire household come next Wednesday.
McGuire's military father, Adam, who served in the Australian Army for 28 years before retiring last year, is an avid Blues supporter, although this never swayed Josh's desire to one day pull on a Maroons' jumper.
"I was born in Brisbane, played Aspley juniors and always wanted to be a Maroon my whole life – he knows that as well and supports that," he said.
"My Dad gives me a bit of grief about it but he loves me and he was one of the most excited people as well. He supports me and that's what it's all about.
"It's just a bit of banter between us and he's just a football supporter in general."