Trent Merrin cast in leading role for Blues' new Origin era

Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin enter the field for the Blues' captain's run at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin enter the field for the Blues' captain's run at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

RUGBY LEAGUE

This is the start of an era when Trent Merrin will become a leader for NSW.

At 24, Merrin will play his 10th State of Origin game at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.

He has always had the ability to cut it at this level, but now he knows what it's all about and how to prepare for and handle the occasion.

Having modelled his game on captain Paul Gallen, Merrin could be part of a new, successful chapter for NSW.

Gallen is the man the rest of the squad follows and aspire to be like. He's a leader of men and has played a major role in lifting the Blues out of the years of disappointment.

But Gallen turns 33 next month, he's not going to be around forever, and it's guys like Merrin and Aaron Woods who have to take charge in the future.

The statistics speak for themselves. Merrin regularly makes 150 metres, 30 or more tackles playing 50-plus minutes for the Dragons and has footwork and an offload few props can in the NRL.

Merrin has been dropped before, but it's helped make him the player he is. Now is his time.

He knows what it's like to lose to Queensland and finally he can experience what it feels like to touch the Origin shield.

Let me tell you, everyone in the camp cannot wait to put their hands on it.

But they also know there is a job still to do.

Regardless of the result, it's a moment to savour for a state starved of success, but wouldn't it be so much better to win game three and complete the clean sweep.

With a 3-0 series loss, there'll be questions raised over the future of a few Maroons players.

And anyone who believes NSW won't maintain the intensity up here in Brisbane, then there's two words to offer you.

Josh Morris.

This bloke did whatever it took to stop Greg Inglis and Queensland in game one with a knee injury and then did everything possible to be fit in time for this game.

If winning game three didn't matter so much, Morris would have just focused on being ready for the Bulldogs and their run into the NRL finals series.

His commitment to the cause has certainly rubbed off on the rest of the squad.

Expect the game to be more open. For all the talk of the teams firing up and tension boiling over, there should be more expansive footy played, provided the referees keep the game under control.

Still, it's been a funny old build-up to this game since we arrived in Brisbane from camp in Coffs Harbour.

It's very quiet on the streets, it's like the Queenslanders aren't quite sure how to deal with losing after being so successful for so long.

Hopefully we won't give them much to cheer about at Suncorp Stadium either.

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