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Maroons enforcer Josh McGuire.

Josh McGuire is either a hero or a villain; it just depends on the colour of the jersey he’s wearing.

A movie buff who will spend part of his game-day preparation watching the latest instalment of the Spiderman franchise before the Origin decider in Sydney, the Maroons enforcer knows every good plotline has its bad guy.

It’s a role he is more than comfortable playing.

Widely criticised for a rake across the face of Queensland teammate Cameron Munster in a Telstra Premiership game earlier this year, and with a rap sheet that would make The Joker blush, McGuire is the player everyone wants to play alongside. 

If for no other reason than it means they don’t have to play against him.

"I have played with him and against him now and I'm glad I played with him first," says Maroons hooker and former Broncos teammate Ben Hunt.

"He's a good mate of mine now so he goes easy on me. There's not too many that he goes easy on."

Matt Gillett, who in 228 games for club, state and country has opposed McGuire just once, in round two this year, adds: "Hundred per cent I'd rather play with him.

"I've played a lot of footy with Moosey and it's always a bit different when you come up against a mate on the other side."

Gagai to kick goals for Maroons in Origin decider

McGuire wears the fact that opposition players despise playing against him as a badge of honour.

In the heightened emotional arena that is State of Origin, he thrives on it.

Making his 14th appearance for the Maroons, the 29-year-old appreciates the eternal battle between good and evil better than most and will relish 80,000 raucous Blues fans booing him on to the stage on Wednesday night.

"Everyone's going to have an opinion, whether it's good or bad, that's fine," McGuire tells

"That's the good thing about rugby league. Everyone is so emotionally invested in it and they either like you or they don't.

"At the moment the emotion around the game is really good. Everyone loves it and everyone is so committed to it. They're passionate about it and they're going to say things that they're entitled to say.

"It's probably the most aggressive sport and the most competitive competition in the world at the biggest arena in Origin where the most emotion is involved.

"I think that's why everyone tunes in. People who aren't football fans love the carnage of Origin and the emotion. That's what it’s all about."

As for Maroons teammate Munster and the round five face massage that earned McGuire a $3350 fine from the match review committee, due in part to his poor record at the judiciary, the Cowboys back-rower said they were squared away prior to game one of the Origin campaign.

"He's already paid me back for the fine that he cost me," McGuire says.

"I called him after the game and told him he had to pay me back. He paid me back in the first camp.

"Me and Munster are really, really good mates and I think it got blown out of proportion a little bit.

Maroons lock Josh McGuire hammers Blues prop Paul Vaughan.
Maroons lock Josh McGuire hammers Blues prop Paul Vaughan.

"It was just like when you're mucking around with your brother in the backyard. I just forget sometimes that it's all on TV and you're not just in the backyard playing with your mates.

"All people get to see is the 80 minutes that happens on the field. They don't see the hours behind the scenes with the boys, having coffees and hanging out.

"I just love my job. I love competing, I love winning and just love being part of it. People love playing with me and that's all that matters to me.”

And, like his favourite movie villain Bane from the Batman franchise, he's not afraid to be the bad guy.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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