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Panthers forward Trent Merrin started at prop for his new side against the Eels.

High-profile Panthers recruit Trent Merrin's first hit-out in his new colours saw him shift back to his old position of prop forward, but the ex-Dragon said there was little difference for him between front row and lock.

The Blues regular has mostly worn the No.13 jersey since a stint at prop to end the 2012 season but after being asked by coach Anthony Griffin to partner fellow newbie Suaia Matagi in the front row, Merrin said his role would continue to develop as the squad formed its combinations.

"It's the same position; you're in the middle of the field and you're going forward. Whether it's 13 or front row, I think the role's the same," Merrin said after his side's 22-8 trial loss to the Eels at Pepper Stadium.

"It was great to finally put on a Panthers jersey and be out there with the boys, it's been a tough pre-season and it was a great hit-out. I know we didn't get the win but we can take a lot of positives out of it."

The home team were "most definitely" happy with their defence, given how much of it they had to do –particularly in the second half – to keep the Eels to three tries until a late four-pointer to Parramatta with both sides having a largely second string side on for the end of the game.

"We can take a lot of confidence out of each of the boys working for each other in our defence," Merrin said.

"It was very sloppy out there, and we'll take that game to get the timing back. We can definitely take a lot of positives out of the game."

Merrin said he wasn't sure yet what Griffin's plan was for him in terms of minutes and workload.

"I think it's just about building the team first. He knows what I'm capable of doing. The minutes will come. I think it's just building the team first and then just playing, putting my individual twist in it somewhere along the way," Merrin said.

"It's just great to finally get out there and put on the jersey and play with this bunch of boys. It's difficult working back into it from having an off-season and then having a first hit-out. We're trying to get our timing back in the game and getting used to it all. It was never going to be a clean game, but there's definitely some positives you can take out of it."

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