Maroons brush aside Origin injury fears

Laine Clark

Sidelined for the past month with injury, Queensland lock Josh McGuire has dismissed fears that he will be underdone in next week's State of Origin opener by boldly declaring he is "ready to go".

The Brisbane forward's Origin I hopes appeared dashed when he was ruled out with a six-week ankle injury after a round-eight NRL win over South Sydney.

And the jury was still out on McGuire's chances of playing June 6's series opener in Melbourne after the Test No.13 was named in the Maroons' starting back-row despite not being sighted on a field in almost five weeks.

But the eight Origin forward allayed concerns over his match fitness.

"I know where I am at and the coach (Kevin Walters) knows where I am at so I am excited to be back in the team and ready to go," said McGuire, Queensland's players' player last year.

"I have played football for 10 years now. I have played at the highest level for a long time and I know what it takes to be ready."

McGuire will be nursed through Queensland training this week at their Gold Coast base along with Billy Slater (hamstring), Ben Hunt (thigh) and Michael Morgan (sternum).

The Maroons relocated from Brisbane to Sanctuary Cove on Wednesday.

"The body is feeling good. I am excited to be back in camp with the boys," McGuire said.

Queensland's Josh McGuire insists he is fit to face NSW after recovering from injury

McGuire's availability is vital for a Maroons side that has lost a total of 150 Origin games' experience after the rep retirement of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk and dumping of Matt Scott and Darius Boyd.

A depleted Queensland pack has already been written off against NSW's monster forwards in Origin I.

McGuire was unfazed.

"I don't think anyone has anything to prove. This is still the same Queensland pack as last year," he said of reuniting with front row partner Dylan Napa.

"You don't need a reason to play well when you play for Queensland.

"And we play against the same blokes (in NRL) every weekend. It's not like it is anything different.

"We know what we have to do as a pack."