McGuire primed to make first contact
They're the moments he remembers most fondly and you get the sense that Maroons prop Josh McGuire would love nothing more than to add his name to Origin opening hit-up folklore by rocking Suncorp Stadium to its core next Wednesday night.
McGuire was on Wednesday evening named to replace the injured Nate Myles in the Queensland starting team for Game Two of the 2016 Holden State of Origin Series and a toss of the coin and direction of the wind will determine whether he is the first man tackled in what could be the Series decider.
Dating back to the very first game in 1980 with Arthur Beetson, Origin matches have featured a roll call of barrelling bookends who have taken arguably the hardest run in rugby league by throwing themselves at the mercy of a rabid opposition.
Greg Dowling, Steve Roach, Martin Bella, David Gillespie, Martin Lang and Mark Carroll are just a handful of the fearless front-rowers to have put their state ahead of their own fate and would no doubt approve of the latest invitee to Origin's most intimidating single act.
For McGuire, the memory of watching Shane Webcke barrel Danny Buderus out of the way as he fought to escape the confines of his own in-goal with the opening run of the 2003 Series is one that has stuck and that he would love to replicate.
"There was a game of Origin where New South Wales kicked it deep on the first kick-off and Shane Webcke got half caught in the in-goal," McGuire told NRL.com of his favourite Origin moments. "He steamrolled his way out against all odds.
"The first carry of the game is always the hardest because everyone is fired up and wants to make an impact.
"He got out of there and started the game well for his team. He never shied away from the first carry.
"Obviously every game there's the kick-off and a front-rower takes it up and I've watched over the years all the players that have done it but I honestly don't know what's going to happen.
"I'll just do my best and make sure I don't get slotted too much."
Now 26 years of age and an Australian Test representative, McGuire's elevation into the rugby league elite has been enhanced by exposure to some of Queensland's toughest front-rowers.
First spied by 17-time Origin representative Andrew Gee while playing juniors for Aspley Devils in Brisbane, McGuire's tenure at the Broncos has included stints alongside modern greats such as Petero Civoniceva, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and Ben Hannant and says their influence has shaped his development and maturity.
"I was fortunate enough to be around some greats of the game in Petero and 'Cozza', Sammy, Benny Hannant, 'Gee Gee', all these guys have all been there and done it," said McGuire, who has his Queensland Origin number of 180 tattooed on the lower part of his shin on his right leg.
"They give you a chip along the way and teach you what's right and wrong on the field. I was lucky enough to learn off some of the best in the world so I think I've developed and learnt and I'm still learning now being here with these guys.
"I still have lots of communication with 'Gee Gee'. He's a big part of me and my career and he kept me at the Broncos when it could have gone any other way so I can't thank him enough.
"He's a big part of where I am now and I still talk to him and was one of the first people I texted when I got to play Origin last year."
The task of filling the role of a 30-game Origin veteran is a significant one that is not lost on McGuire but his teammates have no doubt they have the right man for the job.
"It's a natural progression," said Cooper Cronk of McGuire's elevation into the starting team.
"Josh has been playing really well at the Broncos and he got picked in this team firstly on his effort and performance and with Nate going down it's a shame but I'm sure Josh is more than capable.
"He's got a bit of a bounce in his step. He's up and about this morning but that's his personality.
"Everyone wants to be a part of the starting team but to be honest, no matter where you are in the 17 you have an opportunity to contribute to this team's performance."
This video first appeared on qrl.com.au