Test lock Josh McGuire has inked a four-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys after being released by the Brisbane Broncos from his current playing deal.
The 28-year-old was contracted to Brisbane until the end of 2020 but the move north allows McGuire to secure his long-term future and ease salary cap pressure on the Broncos as they prepare to re-sign Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai jnr and Corey Oates.
McGuire posted a farewell message on Instagram.
"As of today I am no longer a @brisbanebroncos anymore. While I'm super excited about the opportunities that lies ahead for me and my family. With such a amazing club @nqcowboys !! It is with sadness I say goodbye 😢. My time at this wonderful club has been marked with amazing times with people who I will cherish forever. This club has made a chubby boy from north Brisbane's dreams come true and I will be forever grateful to the broncos and the fans of this great club. So thank you for all the great memories and ✌️"
McGuire will reunite with Cowboys coach Paul Green who previously coached him at the Queensland Academy of Sport and in the Broncos Academy while on Brisbane's coaching staff.
"His development over the years has really impressed me and to reconnect and have the opportunity to work with him again is something I'm personally really looking forward to," Green said.
"I'm really excited about what Josh can bring to the Cowboys."
The Broncos did not want McGuire to leave but club CEO Paul White said it was in the best interest of the player to allow him to make the move, while acknowledging the long and valued service the former Aspley junior had given through 194 NRL games after coming through the Broncos youth development and NYC program.
"In a perfect world we would be able to keep Josh at the club, but this is a fantastic opportunity for him to sign a long-term deal and secure the future for his family," White said.
"We are enormously grateful for everything that Josh has done, we wish him the best, and he will always be welcome back at the club."
The Cowboys had been seeking to strengthen their squad by signing another quality middle forward and director of football Peter Parr said McGuire, as a current Australian and Queensland representative, "fits that bill".
"As a player he has the attributes other players like to have in a teammate and we are excited to have someone of Josh's quality joining the likes of Jordan McLean, Matt Scott, Scott Bolton and Jason Taumalolo in the middle of the field,” Parr said.
"With his experience he'll be able to help with the continued education of some of our younger forwards including Corey Jensen, Emry Pere and Francis Molo."