Titan locked in as McGuire’s Maroons replacement
GOLD Coast dynamo Jai Arrow is Origin bound after Maroons coach Kevin Walters declared he was prepared to blood the Titans tearaway as Josh McGuire's replacement.
Broncos lock McGuire is facing at least four to six weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury that will likely see him miss Origin I at the MCG on June 6.
McGuire, an eight-game Maroons regular, is awaiting a specialist's opinion this week, however Walters is resigned to being without his No. 13 for the series opener. The Maroons will already be missing Test backrower Matt Gillett (broken neck) for the entire series while Melbourne prop Tim Glasby (broken thumb) is also in doubt.
The silver lining to Queensland's injury woes has been the emergence of 22-year-old Titans lock Arrow.
The former Broncos forward has been a revelation for the Titans and continued his sensational form by claiming the Anzac Medal in Gold Coast's one-point loss to Cronulla on Saturday.
Arrow charged for 179m, made 29 tackles without missing one and registered two line breaks against the Sharks despite battling painful back spasms.
His NRL career is only 32 games old but Arrow said he was ready for an Origin baptism.
"I love challenges and I'd love a crack at State of Origin," Arrow said.
"You want challenges and I want the biggest challenges. Origin is the pinnacle of rugby league, everyone wants to play it and I'm no different.
"I've seen articles where my name has been tossed up which is pretty surreal.
"I'm pinching myself at the thought of it, but I would love the opportunity and if Kevvie picks me this year, I will take it with both hands and enjoy the ride.
"I watched Origin every year as a kid. I loved Gorden Tallis and his aggression. He got stuck in and that's what I like to do.
"He was my hero and it would be a dream come true if Kevvie thought I was up to the task."
Arrow has relished his starting role at the Titans after being anchored to a bench spot for most of his 24 games at the Broncos.
He is a clean defender, deceptively strong ball-carrier and has developed an offload and ability to break the line this season.
Arrow is best suited to a starting berth rather than bench impact role and Walters confirmed he is viewing him as McGuire's replacement in the No. 13 jersey.
"His form for the Titans has shown he is up for any sort of challenge thrown at him," Walters said.
"From what we've seen in club land he is handling everything thrown at him.
"The game is still a month away but right now you would have to say he is in great touch and doing some great things.
"If he continues on the path he's on and playing the footy he is, that normally gets you some honours at another level."
Alex Glenn is the frontrunner to replace McGuire at hooker for the Broncos in Thursday's clash against the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium.