MAN-of-the-moment Darius Boyd has backed young bull Josh McGuire to step into injured Queensland prop Nate Myles’ boots in Origin II on Wednesday night.
While NSW and coach Laurie Daley have their own dramas after new squad member Wade Graham was hit with a careless grade-one high-tackle charge that could cost him the biggest game of his life, Queensland was keeping quiet about who would take over Myles’ No.10 jumper and fill his enforcer role.
Boyd conceded Queensland would miss the work Myles did in the fiery opening 20 minutes of Origin. But he said McGuire was a young player who could fill his boots.
Coach Kevin Walters has ruled out drafting Sam Thaiday back into the front row but he could go with either Josh Papalii or Jacob Lillyman up against Blues powerhouses Aaron Woods and James Tamou.
“He (Myles) is such a great bloke on and off the field and he was made for Origin,” Boyd told Australian Regional Media.
“Nate is probably a better Origin player than he is week-to-week club player – it just suits his game to a tee.
“I’m not sure who will start there but if it is young Josh McGuire he’ll do a great job.
“He has a lot of aggression and a bit of mongrel in him like Nate, and definitely needs a bit of that.
“He likes to hurt people and wants to do his best and be the best, and that’s what you want from a front-rower.”
While Queensland players headed to Gladstone for a day out with their fans, NSW – which has flown into camp at Coffs Harbour – was weighing up its options in case Graham’s challenge at the judiciary tonight failed.
Graham said after the 13-10 win over the Cowboys on Monday night that he felt Johnathan Thurston was falling in the tackle he was charged over.
He can’t seek a downgrade so his Origin dream rests with him being able to convince the judiciary it wasn’t careless and that there was no intent.
“It’s hard to describe the emotions,” said Graham, who has been on a roller-coaster ride since his selection.
“I’ve seen him (Thurston) coming and he just sort of slipped at the last moment but it is what it is,” he added when it was jokingly suggested he could have hit the Queensland star harder.
It would be shattering for Graham to miss such a massive game because of 33 carry-over points after being on the fringe of selection for the past two years.
Daley has options with the possible recall of Beau Scott, who has terrorised Thurston at Origin and NRL level in the past, or Warriors skipper Ryan Hoffman, a proven Origin performer.
Both teams will begin cranking up their game preparations today and into the weekend.
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