Warrington’s Josh McGuire admits it was an extra relief to help continue Warrington’s winning ways in his Super League debut against Catalans.
McGuire, 32, was forced to watch the first seven rounds from the sidelines through suspension as his side maintained an unbeaten record, going on to make his first appearance of the year in Perpignan.
He started at loose forward as the side managed to claim a 20-14 victory down to 12-men, with Gil Dudson sent off during the feisty clash for a punch on Tom Johnstone.
It’s been a long journey for McGuire, who made the off-season move from St George Illawarra Dragons on a two-year deal.
“It was my second game in seven months. It was just good to be back playing footy and get some minutes under the belt,” McGuire told Love Rugby League.
“Obviously we won the game so it was just good to get the first one out the way, don’t get suspended, don’t get injured and those kind of things.
“You just want to get back in and get into the rhythm.
“For me, I just wanted to get over here and play some footy. It wasn’t an ideal start, but it is what it is. I’m just excited to be back and playing some footy.
“I had a bit of an issue with my hamstring during the seven weeks, so it was my first week running of the week of the game.
“It wasn’t the best preparation for myself but it was just good to be back and playing again.
“I’m just happy to be back playing again and excited to be a part of the team.
“The monkey is off the back, my wife just said don’t lose the first one!”
Josh McGuire expecting tough Wigan clash
McGuire’s second game under Daryl Powell arguably doesn’t come much bigger for a league match, with a sell-out crowd expected at the Halliwell Jones Stadium for the visit of Wigan.
Matt Peet’s Warriors sit second on the table and head into the Round Nine clash following a 14-6 Good Friday derby victory over St Helens.
It will also be McGuire’s first Super League game at home, having featured in pre-season against Leigh – where he picked up his monster ban.
McGuire said: “I’m excited. I’ve played in big games in my career in Australia, the likes of with the Broncos playing against the Cowboys. Just those big local derbies, they’re good.
“It’s great for the game at the moment. It looks like everyone is excited and getting around the team.
“It will be a packed house. Wigan are a great team in their own right and we’re very excited about the challenge ahead.”
A veteran of the game with more than 250 career appearances, as well as representing Samoa, Australia and Queensland on the big stage, McGuire knows what to expect from five-time Super League winners Wigan, having also played against the side in the 2016 World Club Series at the DW Stadium.
“It should be a quality game for everyone.” – Josh McGuire
“Wigan are number two on the ladder for a reason and they have some quality players,” he continued.
“They’re missing a few players like us but I’m sure the younger guys who will get their opportunities will come out and be very excited for it.
“I know Kaide Ellis, he was at the Dragons.
“Patrick Mago was at the Broncos as a youngster.
“Bevan French as well, he played for Parramatta.
“I’ve been around for a while, so I’ve seen a lot of faces.
“The same with the English players. They’ve got some good players coming through like Kai Pearce-Paul and veterans like Liam Farrell who has been around.
“They’re a quality team and are a very well run organisation.
“I’ve played against Wigan for Broncos in the World Club Challenge. They’ve always pride themselves on being a tough, gritty football team who do the little things right and we expect no different.
“We expect them to come out, be aggressive and compete hard. It should be a quality game for everyone.”