WARRINGTON WOLVES’ new signing Josh McGuire is already making himself feel heard in the UK following his move from NRL side St George Illawarra Dragons.
The hulking forward debuted for his new club against the Leigh Leopards last week, enjoying a stellar game before being sent off with three minutes remaining.
Now McGuire faces seven weeks on the sideline after being found guilty of a Grade F charge of Unacceptable Language.
However, the new Warrington prop, despite having only just made the move from the NRL, believes that Super League needs to do something about the drain of talent that is currently being lost – or will be lost – to the NRL.
The likes of Dom Young, Will Pryce, Bailey Hodgson, Kai Pearce-Paul will all be NRL players in 2024 whilst Lewis Murphy has been widely touted to join them.
For McGuire, the reason is simple: the enticement of Australia cannot be underestimated.
“Obviously the salary cap is a big thing,” McGuire told League Express. “For an older player like myself to come over here, when you’re at the wealthy clubs it’s quite a much of a much situation because you go into a good club and get paid good money but nine times out of ten the good clubs look after your housing and your bills, your cars and you can travel the world.
“For younger guys now because the NRL salary cap is so big and the minimum wage is about $120,000 or £80,000 in the UK, to get the good English players over there you probably only have to pay them £120,000.
“To an NRL club that’s nothing and young English guys can go over there and experience the world. It’s very enticing and it’s no skin off the NRL club’s nose because if it works out they’ve got a great international import but if not then they can go well ‘we tried.’
“We want to keep our best players in Super League and the only way we do that is through financial revenue and through our broadcasters.
“It’s important for us as players, because we don’t have a players’ union over here which the sport needs.
“That’s important for us as a brand and players as we have to grow. You need to ensure that players are looked after when they come over here.
“Manchester and Liverpool, for example, you don’t see Ferraris and Lamborghinis driving around in Australia often, but I go down to my coffee shop and see three! The money is there, we’ve got to get the money into the game.”
McGuire believes that raising the salary cap will improve the sport but more of the money also needs to ensure a slick pathway for younger players.
“How do we do that? I think raising the salary cap would help, we need to put more money into our grassroots football,” McGuire continued.
“Your young English players need to be playing regular football against quality opposition whether that’s flying over the Junior Kangaroos and doing tours or vice versa.
“Maybe shortening the season and giving clubs the opportunity to play like St Helens are doing with the (St George Illawarra) Dragons. There are lots of ways of getting better but you need to play better opposition.
“We need to get all clubs to a level where there are no easy games. It starts from the ground up but money and the quality of football helps.”