READY: Josh McGuire during a Queensland  training session at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast.
READY: Josh McGuire during a Queensland training session at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast. DAVE HUNT

McGuire's set to take it up a notch this series: Origin icon

RUGBY LEAGUE: Maroons legend Billy Moore believes lock Josh McGuire is poised to take his game to a new level in this year's State of Origin series.

The Brisbane Broncos 27-year-old heads into his third campaign against the Blues as a key figure in the Queensland pack.

After replacing Corey Parker (retired) in the No.13 jersey at club level, he's now expected to do the job on a bigger stage.

And Sunshine Coast-based Moore, who played 17 games in the back row for his state, says the 180cm, 102kg toiler is up to the task.

"He's already filled the shoes of Corey Parker at the Broncos, which I didn't think was possible," he said.

"You look at his numbers this year. They've been fantastic, his work rate, yardage and tackling.

"He'll really button up that middle."

McGuire was a prop in his previous five interstate outings, coming off the bench for four of them.

But Moore said he's ready-made to start at lock and will be better this series.

"He's perfect (for it)," he said.

"I'm actually expecting him to a go to another level. I think he'll find another gear because he will have more opportunities," Moore said.

"There will be more expected of him. He'll be called on to do more things so look for Josh to really lead from the front."

Moore said the Maroons back row was "perfectly balanced".


"You've got (Matt) Gillett, the best one-on-one tackler in the game, who is a good shot merchant with a bit of x-factor with the ball and then you've got (Josh) Papalii.

"Well, there's no better power player in the game than him. Then there is Josh McGuire. You put those three together ... and then two off the bench.

"Slamming Sam (Thaiday), I think that's the perfect spot for him. He's evolved there. The first 20 minutes is real hard, sturdy stuff where he doesn't get to use his greatest skills, that bit of wide running with a bit more space.

"He can come on after 25 (minutes) and the game will open up.

"Then Aidan Guerra, there's a few people calling for him not to be there but he'll respect the honour Queensland have bestowed on him. His work rate will be enormous when he comes on."