By Rachael Price
St George Illawarra Dragons prop Trent Merrin is confident the Red-and-Whites can overcome an injured Penrith Panthers side at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday.
The NSW Blues State of Origin representative feels that their performance against the Sydney Roosters last week was exceptional despite their loss.
In their final Wollongong home game of the season, the 24-year-old is eager to see Red V faithful fill the WIN Stadium and show their support for the side.
“My body is still a bit tender, but that’s expected from copping a few bashings on the field over the weekend,” said Merrin.
“It’s awesome to have so much depth in the forward pack with a few of the boys almost fit enough to get out there again.
“At the beginning of the season we weren’t doing very well in that area but it’s great that we are able to turn the tables and show everyone what we’re capable of.
“We took a lot of confidence out of the Roosters game; they have one of the toughest and biggest packs in the competition so we knew they were going to put us to the test.
“We prepared for a tough match all week and we went out there and did a good job, even though we lost it’s boosted morale around the club.
“The Panthers might have a few injuries but we’re definitely not underestimating their form; they are still going to be a tough, classy team.
“If anything they are going to step up more because they have those players out, we’re expecting a tough game but we’re looking forward to playing at home.
“Jamie Soward is a key player for the Panthers and every team targets key players to wear them out a bit.
“We’re focusing on what we need to do as a team to come out on top later in the week.
“It’s always good to play at WIN Stadium, especially when the fans pack in there wearing our colours; it’s really special to us, we’d love to see a full house.
“It’s been good to get off the bench over the past couple of weeks; after my shoulder injury it’s something I need to work back into.
“It’s great that some of the younger boys have had a chance to get out there and get some experience.
“We’ve worked hard all year and we’ve hit some good form now especially playing against some tough teams.
“Our hard work has definitely helped our momentum heading into the semis and we’re looking for a strong finish.”