Battered by the Bunnies in the Charity Shield, Trent Merrin is determined to prove the doubters wrong.
Led by the imposing quartet of Burgess brothers - Sam, Tom, Luke and George - the Rabbitohs built a 34-point lead in just 57 minutes, before coach Steve Price conceded the Dragons were out-muscled.
Merrin said the Dragons' big men will not to be monstered once the season kicks off next week.
‘‘We don’t like getting disrespected like that and it hurts,’’ Merrin said.
‘‘But it was always intended to be a trial which it is every year.
‘‘It’s built up to be an NRL game but at the end of the day no one gets points out of it.
‘‘It was our first hitout so we can’t put our heads down and think that’s the start of the season because it’s not.
‘‘If you want to be the best, you have to play the best and we definitely played one of the best teams and we pulled some positives out of it, which is a bonus.
‘‘We know there were negatives there, but we can’t buy too much into that.
‘‘We’ve put it behind us and all eyes are on the Tigers round one.’’
Far from lacking confidence following the loss, Merrin feels the current Dragons pack has the potential to equal the club’s 2010 premiership-winning one that featured the likes of Jeremy Smith, Neville Costigan, Beau Scott and Michael Weyman.
‘‘It’s just about building it,’’ Merrin said.
‘‘The boys have got a lot of confidence in themselves; they’ve just got to mature to the game.
‘‘We showed some good individual performances there on the weekend and if the boys can reflect on the positives, they bring to the game and build on that every week who knows what they can be in the game.
‘‘I had the likes of the Smiths and the Weymans to teach me and I’d love to do the same with some of these guys.’’
The trial loss has turned up the heat on under-pressure Steve Price before a ball has even been kicked in the season proper, but Merrin said speculation regarding the coach’s future hasn’t affected the squad.
‘‘I’ve definitely stayed away from it all,’’ Merrin said.
‘‘I like to stay clear from all that stuff and focus on the job I’ve got to do here.
‘‘We’ve said it here before, if you don’t want to fall into that negative approach, don’t read the papers, don’t buy into the social media and just focus on what we have to do here.
‘‘I think all the boys are on board.
‘‘We know what we have to do now, everyone can rubbish us on the sidelines and say what they want but we’re not buying into it.’’