By Mary Maidiotis

St George Illawarra Dragons prop Trent Merrin is excited by the return of several teammates ahead of the clash against the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina on Sunday.

Merrin, 25, admitted there was a gap left by injured teammates Jason Nightingale, Benji Marshall and Joel Thompson and is looking forward to playing with a full team this weekend.

The NSW Blues representative, who recently returned from suspension, understands that preparation will be key in the Red-and-Whites’ final two matches, as they look to put themselves in a good position heading into the semi finals.

“It’s an exciting part of the season now, we’ve got to do a good job over the next two weeks and look forward to the semis,” said Merrin.

“It was tough being out the first two weeks but I think that was meant to happen, you’ve got to work hard to get your match fitness back up to that level.

“I’ve got a few games under my belt now and it’s good leading into the business end of the season.

“It’s been a bit difficult this year due to injuries but we’re getting all the boys back on deck and it’s come at a perfect time.

“It’s great to have Jason back, he’s worked hard while he’s been away with his injury and he’s put himself in a great position to get back in the team and finish the season strong.

“You always need those playmakers on the field to make it happen so it’s great that we have two of the best halves in the game working together and building momentum.

“Joel leaves a big hole to fill and it’s great to have him back, he’s definitely going to lift the boys, he brings that excitement to the team and the boys feed off that.

“I think these are the games where you have to be at your best because you don’t know what you’re going to get and they could come out firing so we’ve just got to prepare the best we possibly can and take them on.”