By Nathan Beuman
St George Illawarra Dragons lock Trent Merrin is ready to lock horns with the forward pack of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Monday.
The Shellharbour Sharks junior admits the upcoming opposition has one of the most revered forward packs in the competition and will be looking to prove a point against the Red-and-Whites come kick-off.
The NSW Blues representative also reflected on the fact he has made 11 appearances for his state in State of Origin, admitting they are occasions he never takes for granted.
“It’s a bit of a shock actually appearing as many times as I have for NSW,” said Merrin.
“As a kid you just grow up idolising Origin, and to be able to play so many games already in my career, it’s definitely something I appreciate and cherish.
“It’s awesome when you get around that elite level and you have those experienced players around you.
“It’s a great vibe as its like going into a second family - everyone just accepts you.
“I am glad though to be back home with the boys here.
“We are heading in the right direction and it’s going to be a big test on Monday.
“We are expecting the Bulldogs to come out firing and I think Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds are both coming into good form at the moment.
“They have some big middle men as well so we will need to roll our sleeves up in the middle and hit them with what we have.”