McGuire's exit means Broncos must hunt as a pack

Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough has urged his young forwards to adopt a pack mentality in order to pick up the aggressive intent lost by the off-season departure of Josh McGuire.

Like Michael Crocker before him, McGuire is a Maroons enforcer you love to have in your side but loathe playing against, but even his teammates aren't immune from butting heads with the man they call "Moose".

During the 2016 finals, McGuire and former Bronco Salesi Funaki came to blows at training and according to Cowboys prop Matt Scott he has already ruffled feathers in Townsville, but "in a good way."

Scott believes McGuire is exactly the type of player the Cowboys were lacking, while McCullough insists it will take a united effort from the Broncos to fill the void.

"I don’t think we need to have any one guy take up that role, we need more of a pack mentality," McCullough told NRL.com.

"You don't need one particular guy. It's an overall performance, especially in the forwards where you do need to be aggressive at certain times.

"Not going overboard but using it within the right context of the game, when to be aggressive and when to control your energy and making sure you're not going too hard too early."

Cowboys forward Josh McGuire.
Cowboys forward Josh McGuire. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

McGuire made his Cowboys debut in last Saturday's trial win over the Storm following his sudden switch in November.

Scott went into bat for the club's new recruit but is still trying to convince fellow Cowboys they are better off with him than against him.

"I had a lot of convincing to do," Scott said.

"I still don't know if I've got them over the line yet.

"Everyone knows what type of player Moose is. That's rugby league. People know that most of the guys in our game are genuinely good fellas and some take things a bit rougher and to extremes on the field, and that's definitely Moose.

"I always thought he was a good addition to our club because I think we need the aggressive side of his nature."

The successful return of veteran back-rower Matt Gillett boosts what is an otherwise inexperienced Broncos pack.

Matt Lodge, Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai jnr and David Fifita are in line to start against the Storm in the Telstra Premiership season-opener next Thursday, none of whom have yet celebrated their 24th birthday.

Young forwards Jaydn Su’A, Patrick Carrigan, Thomas Flegler and George Fai are pushing for selection.

"It's always difficult for a young player, particularly in the forwards, to be up every week and we realise that," McCullough said.

"What people have got to realise is the difference between their best games and their worst games doesn't need to be a big gap. That's the hardest thing of becoming a professional, trying to minimise the gap between your best game and your worst game.

"That takes time, that takes mistakes, that takes praise. It's a whole range of things until that player learns to get their routine right throughout the week and know what they need to do to get themselves right. They'll be up and down until they can do that.

"But overall I'd like to think the guys are professional enough to know when they've got to get ready to play and train."

As for what to expect when he faces up against McGuire for the first time in their blockbuster derby at Suncorp Stadium in round two, McCullough is ready for anything.

"I’m not sure yet, probably a bit of everything," the 29-year-old said.

"It wouldn't be unexpected to cop anything or get hit anywhere. It's good for the game and good for himself. Overall you like competing against the best players and he's certainly been a great player for a long time."