Josh McGuire’s dark disciplinary record including PNG shame & crusher tackle on Wigan star

James Gordon
Josh McGuire

Warrington may well be wishing they had heeded warning of the disciplinary question marks surrounding their off-season signing Josh McGuire.

On paper, the Brisbane-born forward comes with a stellar CV that boasts more than 250 appearances in the NRL and representative honours for Samoa, Queensland and Australia.

But barely six months in to his two-year contract at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, his future career hangs in the balance.

A 12-match ban for using unacceptable language towards ex-Warrington winger Josh Charnley in the recent defeat at Leigh means he has been suspended for a total of 19 games this year already.

An astonishing report emerged once again following this week’s news of an incident involving McGuire back in 2014.

He was part of the Prime Minister’s XIII team that played in Papua New Guinea, shortly before he featured for Samoa in the Four Nations.

Daily Telegraph journalist Dean Ritchie wrote: “I was on the team bus and watched dangle Australian shirts out the window as hundreds of poor and adoring kids chased the bus.

“Unlike other players who gladly gave their gear away to the locals, McGuire would tease the locals by quickly pulling the shirts inside the bus each time a kid made a jump for it.”

While sledges in State of Origin games are far from uncommon, Ritchie tellingly ended his piece with quite the premonition.

“This bloke is headed for a big fall. Mark my words.”

He has quite the disciplinary record when you look back at punishments handed down to him in the NRL.

High tackles – Five matches (September 2021)

McGuire was handed a five-match ban in September 2021 for a pair of high tackles in a match against South Sydney, one of which earned him a stint in the sin-bin. Both were deemed careless by the NRL judiciary, on Tatola Tevita and Peter Mamouzelos.

He pleaded guilty to the offences and the NRL said he would have received a smaller suspension if not for his poor record over the previous two years.

Biosecurity breach – One match (July 2021)

McGuire was caught up in the storm that saw his now-Warrington team-mate Paul Vaughan sacked by St George Illawarra Dragons for breaching COVID biosecurity protocols.

Vaughan hosted a party that breached local public health orders and was fined $50,000 and banned for eight games.

McGuire was one of a further 12 Dragons players who each received a one-match band and a fine, as was Wolves team-mate Matt Dufty and recent London Broncos signing Corey Norman.

Hip-drop tackle – Five matches (May 2021)

Shortly after arriving at the Dragons, McGuire was handed a five-match ban for an ugly hip-drop tackle on Melbourne winger Josh Addo-Carr.

He was also fined $2,600 for a high tackle on Justin Olam in the same game, which saw him sent to the sin-bin as the Dragons were beaten 44-18.

That incident came amongst a raft of suspensions for the club that forced general manager Ben Haran to come out and defend the club’s players.

Coach Anthony Griffin said at the time: “Josh is obviously really disappointed, but in the current climate that’s the way it has ended up.”

Verbal abuse of referee – One match (September 2020)

McGuire was sin-binned for a comment made to referee Grant Atkins during North Queensland’s defeat to Melbourne, and he was charged with contrary conduct.

He entered an early guilty plea and received a one-match ban

The incident was picked up on the referees mic and was shared publicly following the incident, with McGuire reported to have said “F*** me, c***” in apparent frustration at not receiving a penalty.

Crusher tackle – One match (July 2020)

When at North Queensland Cowboys, McGuire was banned for a so-called crusher tackle on current Wigan half-back Cade Cust, then playing for Manly Sea Eagles.

McGuire was charged with dangerous contact to the head or neck, and due to his previous record, had no option to enter an early guilty plea to avoid a ban.

He was handed a one-match suspension.

Dangerous contact – One match (June 2019)

McGuire missed one-match following an incident in a State of Origin match, won by New South Wales 38-6 against McGuire’s Queensland.

He was charged with dangerous contact on now retired former Catalans half James Maloney.

Hands in face – Three matches (August 2019)

On his debut for North Queensland, McGuire was caught putting his hands in the face of David Fifita. Fifita was lay on the floor in a three man tackle and McGuire was seen to deliberately make a movement to put his hand in Fifita’s face as he got up from the tackle.

Later in the same season, McGuire avoided a ban but was fined $3,350 following an alleged eye-gouge on Melbourne star Cameron Munster.

Munster didn’t make an official complaint, but video evidence appeared to show his Queensland team-mate putting his fingers in his eyes.

Munster said afterwards: “Me and Moose have a connection there. He did get me but I wasn’t going to put it on report.”

Also in the same season, McGuire was charged for putting his hands in the face of Manly’s Dylan Walker, again escaping with a fine this time of $4,500.

Tripping – One match (September 2019)

On his first game back from his previous three-match ban, McGuire was charged with tripping Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith, earning him another one match ban, in what was the Cowboys’ last game of the season.

Hair pull – One match (August 2018)

McGuire was banned for one-match for pulling the hair of Canterbury Bulldogs loose forward Adam Elliott, while he was playing for Brisbane Broncos.,

He entered an early guilty plea for what was his third charge of the season. It was spotted by the NRL’s match review panel having been missed by the on-field officials.

That incident saw McGuire labelled a grub by fans, with Elliott reacting by pushing out at McGuire.

McGuire had hair pulling form, having been spotted pulling a similar trick on Andrew Fifita in the 2016 State of Origin series.

Although he didn’t receive a ban, McGuire was charged a few months earlier for stomping on the foot of Melbourne’s Tim Glasby.

A previous incident saw him do the same to Tim Mannah, with McGuire using the fact he is blind in one eye as a defence for his actions.

McGuire suffered the eye injury when a team-mate accidentally poked him in the eye in 2011, and he revealed in 2014 that the consequences of that detached retina was blindness in his left eye.

With Warrington thought to be working out how to end his contract, it would leave McGuire’s career in tatters. Any new club would need to commit to recruiting him on the basis of him missing the first 12 games for them, which appears unlikely.

A code switch, or maybe even a move to France where Corey Norman was able to play even with an unspent suspension from his time in Super League, might be his only options.

READ MORE: Josh McGuire ban: Eight of the other longest suspensions in Super League history