FUELLED by self-doubt Trent Merrin’s performance in State of Origin I allayed any fears he had of not being up to representative standard.
The young prop forward was left shaken by last year’s experience where he played just 37 minutes in the opening two games before being axed for the deciding third match.
Merrin was strong in the opening game, playing one more minute in that match than he did in the entire series last year.
More importantly he had proven to himself that he is an Origin player.
‘‘I felt that I proved I belong, having got a lot of minutes and expressing myself in the game,’’ Merrin said.
‘‘Not getting picked in the third game last year was an emotional roller-coaster.
‘‘In saying that it was sort of a blessing in disguise. It really sparked me up and help me get back into a Blues jersey.
‘‘It was an eye-opener playing in your first State of Origin and being so young.
‘‘It was a big wake-up call.’’
Merrin struggled with the build-up and hype surrounding his debut Origin experience last year.
Days before kick-off he ran through in his mind exactly how he thought the match would pan out, leaving him emotionally exhausted.
‘‘Last year I got too wrapped up in it all and used a lot of useless energy thinking about the game,’’ Merrin, 22, said.
‘‘This time I didn’t do my head in over the game.
‘‘I knew what I had to do and I concentrated on not blowing it out of proportion.’’
Merrin was joined by St George Illawarra teammate Ben Creagh when the NSW boys entered camp in Coogee earlier this week.
He will again come off the interchange bench when NSW host Queensland at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.
‘‘There is a great bond here,’’ Merrin said. ‘‘It feels like walking into a club team.
‘‘We don’t have to change anything in the way we played.
‘‘We’ll evolve again and take it to them.’’
Merrin is also prepared to talk about his own experiences with NSW 18th man Jamie Buhrer, who was left out of the NSW side for State of Origin II following his seven-minute debut in game one.
Merrin can relate to the Manly utility, having himself played just 12 minutes in game II last year before being dropped for game III.
‘‘It will light the fire like it did for me,’’ Merrin said.
‘‘If he wants to have a chat, I’ll be the first one to speak to him. He’ll be in Origin again for sure.’’
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