Blues Merritt thrown in deep end for State of Origin II
RABBITOHS winger Nathan Merritt's State of Origin debut next Wednesday looms as the ultimate baptism of fire.
Playing a desperate Queensland side at a packed Suncorp Stadium does not get any tougher - to make matters worse the diminutive flanker will be playing opposite gigantic club teammate Greg Inglis.
Merritt was called into the Blues camp yesterday due to the suspension of Raiders wild child Blake Ferguson after he was charged with indecent assault for an incident at a Cronulla nightclub late on Sunday night.
"It doesn't matter what way it (the Origin opportunity) is, I'm just grateful for the chance to represent my state and play for the Blues," Merritt said.
"It's going to be a big stage, but that's what you play the game for - the atmosphere and the ground."
The 30-year-old grinned when recalling how the news was broken to him.
"I smiled that hard. As I walked out of training my old man was walking in. I embraced him. My father was the first to know and so was my fiancé," he said.
The Raiders yesterday said they would consider Ferguson's football future in the nation's capital over the next 24 hours.
"The club needs to continue to send a strong message in this area," Raiders CEO Don Furner said.