A fine was never going to stop Josh McGuire attacking the face of a rival, and his antics will now leave him in the gun-barrell sights of the match review committee.
So says former top whistleblower and match review committee chairman Greg McCallum who like many in the game has been left shocked McGuire escaped with another fine for giving an opponent an ugly facial.
North Queensland Cowboys star Josh McGuire was fined $4,500 for a second instance of contact with a player’s face this season.Credit:NRL Photos
McCallum said the referees would show no bias towards McGuire when he plays against the Wests Tigers on Friday night, or any other game moving forward, but his concerning habits would draw extra attention from officials during every post-match review.
Tigers back-rower Ryan Matterson quipped to the Herald this week: "He [McGuire] has done a lot of grubby things to people, but he's been good to me.
"He's a great player, he plays for his state and country and he's looking to play his best football at the Cowboys."
McGuire was fined $3450 for contrary conduct when footage showed him giving Dylan Walker a facial, and slugged $3350 for an alleged eye gauge on Queensland Origin teammate Cameron Munster back in round five.
McGuire was also pinged last year for pulling the hair of Canterbury's Adam Elliott.
"I think he was lucky the first time. Any time the hand goes near the eyes, while the charge of gauging is difficult to prove, there was enough evidence to test it at the judiciary. I would have certainly sent it through," McCallum said. "When I was in the role [as chair] for ten years, I was never a fan of fines. And fines should not be [available] for some things as serious as attacking the face, which is what it is.
"Josh has walked away with two fines now, which is remarkable.
"That young kid from Canberra [Hudson Young] got five weeks, and rightfully so. But I didn't see much difference between what the kid did and what McGuire did the first time. From my trained eye looking at those things, the video wasn't the issue. I thought the footage was conclusive."
McCallum said referees would not pre-judge McGuire, but the match review committee would not miss him.
"Ultimately these days the referees don't come into call dismissing players any more, and it's more about referrals," McCallum said.
The NRL this week said McGuire would be slapped with a suspension if he stepped out of line again. He has thrived on the role as being the aggressor at all levels of the game.
For all the negative publicity surroundng him, McGuire will pose one of the key headaches for the Tigers as they try to register an overdue win in Townsville.
Matterson, who enjoyed the benefits of being in his first NSW Origin camp last week, said the spirits remained upbeat at Concord, and they simply needed to tidy up their efforts in defence when it came to the last play.
"We're flying in terms of energy and our intensity. We can't fault our effort," Matterson said.
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