McGuire takes up Crocker's Maroon mantle
When Queensland needed a moment of inspiration Michael Crocker took it upon himself to deliver it and the former Maroons enforcer says Josh McGuire is the man of action that can lead Queensland to a series win at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
In an era where punches and insults are traded far less frequently, McGuire is the abrasive aggressor who won't let the Blues forwards stand over him no matter how much he gives away in height to the likes of Andrew Fifita, Aaron Woods and David Klemmer.
Famous for stating that "losers have meetings, winners have parties" in a social media post after Queensland's series win last year, McGuire lit the fuse for an explosive decider with his Game Two post-game spray to Fifita as he lay prone on the ANZ Stadium turf.
Fifita didn't take too kindly to that and said as much to the media in the aftermath, the last laugh available to the man standing triumphant in the centre of Suncorp on Wednesday night.
The type of player who goes so hard at training that he has come to blows with his Brisbane teammates, McGuire was inspired by another Maroon willing to antagonise to the last letter of the law in Crocker, who says he can prove the difference as he did in Game Two.
It was McGuire's line break in the lead-up to Dane Gagai's first try that began to bridge the 10-point lead the Blues had opened up and if his team needs another moment to turn the tide Crocker expects the 27-year-old lock to deliver again.
"I love Joshy as a player, absolutely love him," Crocker told NRL.com.
"The thing I love about Joshy is that when things are going against you you need that energy in the middle. If you've got someone talking, rushing up out of the line and bringing two other guys with him and trying to get some good contact to stop their go-forward, they're the special plays that players like Josh know that the team needs and that they can come up with more often than not.
"He plays good minutes but he's still got that x-factor about him. He's got aggression in defence but with the ball he can do some damage as well.
"That line break that he had last game before the try to 'Gags' (Gagai) is the sort of play that you need in a big game and he's got that capability.
"I love watching him play and I'd loved to have played with him seeing what he can do in defence and attack."
McGuire's admiration for Crocker stretches back more than a decade to when Crocker came into the Queensland team in 2003 as a confrontational back-rower ready to take on the biggest baddest Blues that dared stand in front of him.
Crocker's brutal – but legal at the time – hit on Manly fullback Brett Stewart early in the second half of the 2007 Grand Final set the Melbourne Storm on course for a thumping win while in the Origin arena he had no qualms going toe-to-toe with the likes of Blues props Mark O'Meley and Justin Poore.
In a game in which players will be required to push themselves to do things they haven't dared do prior, McGuire is the man the Maroons will turn to when the game gets its toughest, modelling his game on Crocker to the point where he started taping his ears just to look like him.
"'Crock' was a massive inspiration for 'Moose'. He pretty much said that's why he started wearing the head tape, he just loved him," said Maroons prop Jarrod Wallace.
"He was aggressive, he was a Queensland legend. He was always there when they needed a big shot or aggression.
"At the end of the day Moose is probably that player for us when it comes down to it."
Playing in his eighth game for Queensland on Wednesday night, McGuire has found a like-minded soul in the Maroons pack in the very large form of front-rower Dylan Napa.
With their team 1-0 down in the series and trailing 16-6 midway through the second half McGuire and Napa returned to the field and with their aggressive running changed the momentum of the game.
"Moose will definitely be foaming at the mouth and big 'Naps' doesn't mind chucking a shot on here and there," said Wallace, who made his Origin debut in Game Two.
"It's awesome to play with them. I've played with Josh a lot [at the Broncos] but I've only played against big Naps.
"Watching him put on the shots when he's standing next to me, instead of putting them on me, is a good feeling."