McGuire ready and won’t let Queensland down: Gee
FORMER Brisbane Broncos hard man Andrew Gee says Josh McGuire has Origin DNA and will repay selectors for naming him as the only rookie in their 17-man squad for the May 27 series opener in Sydney.
"He's ready, he's more than ready," Gee told APN when asked if the 25-year-old Broncos prop, who he first spotted as a 14-year-old, was ready for his baptism of fire.
"He won't have played anything like what's waiting for him on Wednesday week, but he has Origin in his DNA.
"He's tough, he's got a good motor and he won't take a backward step."
Gee said McGuire had reformed himself on the field in recent years.
"He plays tough, he's disciplined and he's a team player,'' he said. "He's got everything you want in an Origin player."
The big news for Queensland though is that Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith, who has played 32 of the last 33 Origin games, is free to play after accepting a grade-one dangerous contact charge for lashing out with his boot and striking South Sydney hooker Issac Luke in the face at the weekend.
Sunshine Coast utility Matt Gillett has also survived calls to replace him and will line-up for his 10th-straight Origin appearance, chosen ahead of Canberra destroyer Josh Papalii.
Young Roosters bruiser Dylan Napa, who was pushing for a bench spot on the back of some punishing defence this season, will be named 18th man.
And should Daly Cherry-Evans not pull up well from Manly's clash with Penrith last night, Cowboys utility Michael Morgan is on standby to come straight into the squad.
McGuire will become Maroon No.180 when handed his maiden Origin jumper today.
He'll be the only new face in Mel Meninga's squad, with the Queensland coach showing loyalty to the players who won eight straight series before narrowly losing to the Blues last year.
Gee, who knows what it takes to survive the intense and furious pressure and pace of Origin, having played 17 of the interstate games, pushed for McGuire's Origin selection in last year's series, and felt the front-rower should have played when Matt Scott was injured.
The former Brisbane Broncos prop said McGuire reminded him of a smaller version of Shane Webcke, and played like Paul Gallen.
"When I first saw Josh he had that body and that mongrel in him that I love," Gee said. "He plays the last minute like the first. He never gives up and he's got that killer instinct.
"He's ready and he won't let Queensland down."
Billy Slater, Will Chambers, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott (c), Cameron Smith, Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday, Aidan Guerra, Corey Parker. Inter: Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh McGuire, Matt Gillett, Jacob Lillyman. 18th man: Dylan Napa.