Tony Durkin believes Josh McGuire should speak to former Maroons star Shane Webcke.
Tony Durkin believes Josh McGuire should speak to former Maroons star Shane Webcke. Will Russell

McGuire needs call from Webcke

LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN: As an impressionable teenager, Josh McGuire idolised Shane Webcke. He wanted to be like him one day.

When at the Broncos I organised a jersey to be signed by Webcke for a fundraiser for McGuire, who had been selected in a Queensland inline hockey team. And when he returned from the tournament in Perth, 15-year-old Josh showed plenty of class by presenting Webcke with the state hockey shirt he had worn.

Regrettably there has been little of that class on show this season from the Cowboys, Queensland and Kangaroos forward. Quite the opposite in fact.

Three times he has earned the ire of the NRL match review committee, the latest for his misdemeanour as the bell sounded in Perth last Sunday night. His swinging arm to the head of James Maloney, as the Blues five-eighth and matchwinner lay on the ground, would hardly have bruised a grape, but the intent was worthy of a charge.

MAY 26, 2004: Shane Webcke (ball) gets pass away during tackle in Game One of NSW v Queensland State of Origin Series at Telstra Stadium, Olympic Park in Sydney, 26/05/04. Pic Brett Costello.Rugby League A/CT
Shane Webcke in action for the Maroons. COSTELLO BRETT

Twice earlier in the season he has been hit with contrary conduct indictments and - luckily in the eyes of most - was fined, not suspended. Both times he appeared to rake his fingers across the face of his opponent while they were on the ground and - alarmingly - one was his Origin and Test teammate Cameron Munster.

As a result of his swinging arm in Sunday's Origin clash and subsequent charge, the man known as Moose will sit out this weekend's vital game against the Dragons. And languishing on 12 points with five other teams - including the Dragons - just two points outside the top eight, the injury-riddled Cowboys needed his experience and firepower more than ever.

Josh McGuire has never been timid. He has played just on 200 NRL games in the toughest position on the field and has rarely taken a backward step. But he is no grub, as rent-a-quote Mark Carroll described him earlier in the week.

He is, however, projecting himself as a very angry young man. And he is sailing close to a lengthy suspension unless he curbs this reckless behaviour.

Many thought McGuire, who had been with the Broncos since he was 15, was forced out of the club to head north, but a few weeks ago he denied that fallacy. He said it had been his decision to move, that he held no hard feelings towards anyone at Red Hill and was loving life at the Cowboys.

His reasons for leaving appeared soundly based - a great roster, successful coach and stability. McGuire felt he needed a change, and wanted to push himself, which indicated he may have been becoming stale at the Broncos.

So that begs the question - why the anger? Why the frustration? Why the sudden burst of foul play? No one but McGuire can answer those questions, but maybe he needs to look closer at the career of the man he idolised in his teenage years. While Shane Webcke was as tough as old boots, there wasn't a nasty bone in his body.

A phone conversation between the pair might not just put McGuire back on track, but could be of immense benefit to both the Maroons and the Cowboys.