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McGuire's lock switch wish strange: Lewis

AAP logoAAP 20/12/2016 Warren Barnsley

Wally Lewis is concerned by the push to move Josh McGuire out of position to lock as a long-term replacement for retired NRL great Corey Parker at Brisbane.

The Broncos and Queensland legend has also predicted the club could struggle to find their feet next year without former captain Parker, who called time on his stellar 347-game career at the end of the season.

McGuire has said his sights are set on filling the lock role in 2017 and beyond despite playing most of his 150 NRL games at prop.

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has kept the 26-year-old in the dark about whether he'll get first crack in the No.13 jumper next year ahead of young contender Jai Arrow.

But McGuire has the backing of Australian coach Mal Meninga, who recently described him as "the ideal candidate" despite missing selection for the Kangaroos' Four Nations campaign.

Lewis expressed confusion at the prospect, saying it would be a difficult transition for McGuire after he led the Broncos for metres gained from the front-row in 2016.

"I'm not sure about that," Lewis told AAP.

"That's strange, going from front-row to lock forward. It'll be tough."

Lewis said the Broncos will sorely miss not only Parker's leadership, but also his reliability and consistency in holding down the lock position.

"I think it'll probably take them 6-8 weeks to get used to life without him," Lewis said at the Jack Newton Classic in the Hunter Valley.

"It does take a while to adjust. Corey's one of those blokes who looked after a certain position for a long time.

"He's been their most consistent player over the last seven or eight years."

Lewis also urged oft-criticised halves pairing Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford to improve next season if the Broncos were to better this year's semi-final exit.

He said Hunt in particular suffered from inconsistency in 2016 and was possibly affected by high expectations.

"He came up last year and everyone thought this is the one," Lewis said.

"Any halfback at the Broncos over the last few years is going to get compared to the little bloke (Allan Langer).

"I know Ben himself was extremely disappointed with his efforts last year.

"Consistency will be his number one priority this year."

Lewis expressed shock the Broncos threw a lifeline to Benji Marshall after his exit from St George-Illawarra, but he backed the veteran playmaker to surprise some NRL observers with his contribution to the club.

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