Question marks over Josh McGuire’s Warrington future as he faces another lengthy ban

James Gordon
Josh McGuire

Photo: News Images

There is growing speculation that Warrington are looking to move on Australian forward Josh McGuire after he landed himself in more disciplinary hot water.

McGuire, 33, has been referred to a tribunal on Tuesday following comments he allegedly made towards Leigh’s Josh Charnley during the Wolves defeat at Leigh Sports Village two Fridays ago. He has once again been hit with a Grade F charge by the match review panel.

He has already spent seven matches on the sidelines after receiving a Grade F charge for using unacceptable language in the pre-season friendly against Leigh.

The Wolves were warned about McGuire’s disciplinary record before he made the move from the NRL.

In 2021, while playing for St George Illawarra Dragons, he was handed two separate five match bans, either side of a one-game ban for breaching the NRL’s COVID-19 biosecurity protocols.

The former Australia international played more than 250 games in the NRL for the Dragons, North Queensland and Brisbane Broncos, where he made his name between 2009 and 2018.

The ban earlier this season disrupted his start to life with Warrington, and meant he could only make his competitive debut in the win over Catalans on April 8.

In his last three appearances, he has been named in the second row due to the ongoing absence of the injured Matty Nicholson.

McGuire was absent from Warrington’s team for the Magic Weekend defeat to Hull, with a foot injury reported to be the reason.

The incident at Leigh was referred to further investigation by the Match Review Panel in last week’s disciplinary notes.

His previous seven-match ban was for unacceptable language thought to relate to disability discrimination, targeted at Tom Amone.

After his return to action, McGuire told The Mirror: “I was very surprised by what happened.

“I’m disappointed with the way it all went. A few words went back and forth. From both sides. And I said some nasty stuff. But I never said that. It was heat of the moment stuff. We wouldn’t have challenged it if we didn’t have a case but we’ve put it behind us and moved on.”

Although Warrington were keen to stress their intention to appeal on the previous occasion – albeit they were prevented from doing so due it going to a tribunal, meaning all they could do was simply defend McGuire on the day – there has been little public comment this time.

Headaches over Warrington forward pack

Coach Daryl Powell has cut a frustrated figure at times given the situation that some of his forwards have left him in this season with bans.

Wales international Gil Dudson was sidelined for five-matches for punching Catalans winger Tom Johnstone while he lay on the ground, and Sam Kasiano, Paul Vaughan and Joe Philbin have also served bans.

There is growing speculation around Warrington that they may now be set to offload McGuire, even as early at this week, such is their frustration over his self-inflicted absences from the line-up.

That has led to Powell having to draft the likes of Peter Mata’utia and Greg Minikin in to his forward pack, while academy captain Lucas Green has also been named on the bench at times – though used sparingly.

Warrington have already lost one forward this season, with prop Thomas Mikaele returning Down Under with Gold Coast Titans for personal reasons after he made a fine start to the season.

Although they have looked at the player market, the Wolves haven’t yet identified a possible replacement – though moving on McGuire would certainly increase the need for them to make a move.

Wakefield’s Kelepi Tanginoa was a name mentioned, but Warrington baulked at his salary cost, and of the three NRL players they were linked to – Parramatta’s Makahesi Makatoa, Penrith’s Scott Sorensen and St George’s Josh Kerr – Kerr has already signed for the Dolphins for 2024.

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