“If one of us hurt, we all hurt. That’s the way I saw it, and I acted upon it”: Trent Merrin, left. Photo: Mark KolbeNSW interchange forward Trent Merrin has vowed he won’t back down if tempers again flare in Origin despite being sin-binned for starting a game-two fight.
Merrin’s punches on Brent Tate instigated a second-half brawl that resulted in the duo being sin-binned alongside Greg Bird and Justin Hodges. They became the first players punished under the game’s punching edict – throw a punch and you’re sin-binned – following Paul Gallen going unpunished for his exchange with Nate Myles in game one.
The flurry of punches had Merrin suspended for a club game, but he had no intentions of holding back if a similar situation were to arise in game three. It was something I had to do individually,” Merrin said. ”I’m not going to hold back if one of my mates or myself are getting punched in the head.
”A few things happened with our boys. You don’t really think out there
and it just happened. It’s a contact sport and these things happen.”
Merrin’s frustrations grew from a string of incidents in the lead-up to the Tate encounter. NSW players were seething when Queensland fullback Billy Slater collected Mitchell Pearce with an elbow to the halfback’s cheek.
And when Tate, while standing at dummy half, pushed Paul Gallen over shortly after, the normally mild-mannered Merrin erupted.
”You build a bond with the boys here, and when you see someone try and put it over them you try and stand up for them,” Merrin said. ”That’s the culture we’ve got here now. If one of us hurt, we all hurt. That’s the way I saw it, and I acted upon it. When you’re out there you don’t think too much. You just act upon what you see. I was a bit disappointed with it, but it happened.”
Merrin is preparing for extra attention from the Maroons because of it. Regardless, the St George Illawarra lock is just happy to be part of the third game. After playing in the opening two games in the past two years, Merrin has twice been dumped for game three. He said that while his axing hurt, the demotion had spurred him on to achieve more.
”It’s pretty emotional,” he said of his omissions. ”It gives you the fuel to … work harder and get yourself back in that arena. Some people can take it and run away from the fact of failing. It’s not in me. I know that if I fail I have to learn from it. I have done that.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.