tmedia
Skip to main content
Main content
Homepage

Take charge, Axe urges forward trio

By Eden Richards‌, Queensland Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

Josh McGuire Game I
Josh McGuire says he won't let anybody down.

Queensland assistant coach Trevor Gillmeister has called on three of the Maroons' most experienced forwards to lead from the front in a new era for Queensland. 

Josh Papalii, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire have quickly become the leaders of the forward pack following the sudden axing of Queensland veterans Nate Myles, Jacob Lillyman, Sam Thaiday and Aidan Guerra

The trio have only 20 Origin appearances between them, but they must show the way for debutants Coen Hess and Tim Glasby on Wednesday night. 

It is a very inexperienced forward pack, with Gavin Cooper and Dylan Napa set to play just their second game for the Maroons. 

‘You have to lead with your actions’

Forty-game hooker Cameron Smith will be in the middle of the park to direct his troops, but Gillmeister believes it is up to Papalii, Gillett and McGuire to set the tone early. 

"Yeah [they need to lead from the front], but they just have to do their job," Gillmeister said. 

"They do their bit on the training paddock and they will carry that over. 

"You have to lead with your actions and that's what we lacked a little bit with no Matt Scott there in the first game. 

"I'm confident they'll do well in the second game and the team will go well."

Create own legacy

Scott has played 22 games for Queensland and was the spiritual leader of the Maroons' forward pack, but an ACL injury has cruelly ruled him out for the rest of the year. 

The 31-year-old cannot be replaced and McGuire will not be tempted to try to replicate Scott's presence on the field, with the Brisbane Broncos lock instead intent on creating his own Origin legacy. 

"I wouldn't say that [I need to change anything]. I'm just going to do my job," McGuire said.

"Kevvie [Walters] picked me for the way I'm paying at club footy so I'm just going to do that. 

‘I'm just going to do my job’

"Obviously a few older guys have left, but there are a few older guys that have come back in, with these being Cooper, Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston

"A couple of older guys have left but a couple of older guys have come back that have a lot of experience playing club and Origin footy so I'm just going to do my job." 

Must win

The pressure will be on Queensland when they travel to ANZ Stadium to try to keep the series alive following their 28-4 thrashing at the hands of the NSW Blues in Game I. 

Despite this, McGuire will not feel the need to do anything different after a solid personal performance in the loss. 

McGuire ran for 126m and made 47 tackles during that clash and he intends to have a similar output in Game II.  

"There's no added pressure on myself to do anything above and beyond," he said.

"I'm just going to do my job and not let anyone down."

* This article first appeared at NRL.com