Merrin best man for Kangaroo recall
Overlooked for this year's Origin Series Trent Merrin wondered whether his representative career had come and gone, so it is with some sense of irony that he has earned a Kangaroo recall on the day he was to serve as best man at his brother's wedding.
Seated in his loungeroom when Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga revealed his 24-man squad for the upcoming Four Nations tour, Merrin turned to his mother with the realisation of how his selection would impact his family.
Merrin's brother Dean is getting married in Kiama on Saturday but rather than being there alongside the man he calls "my biggest fan", Merrin will instead be running out onto nib Stadium Perth for a second shot at the Kiwis.
The Kangaroos are already without both Josh Mansour and Aaron Woods who are themselves getting married this weekend but Merrin said that Dean was very understanding when he made the call to rule himself out of his wedding party.
"We had a great conversation and he was fine with it. He knew that this opportunity doesn't come around too often," Merrin said from the Kangaroos' camp in Perth.
"He's my biggest fan so if there was anything to give it up for he said it had to be this and he's putting his hand up for the jersey already.
"It was a tough decision but I've got his blessings and his partner's blessing so that's the best thing about it."
Merrin's sole Test to date was one of drama, firstly washed out on the Friday night by a torrential Brisbane storm and then the Kangaroos were dealt a 26-12 defeat in the rescheduled match on the Sunday afternoon.
He hoped an off-season move to the Panthers would reignite his career at club and representative level but admitted that he struggled to adjust initially and was overlooked by Blues coach Laurie Daley for all three matches this year.
"Those things definitely come into your head, all those negatives combine and fall into your head when you miss out on something that you hold so close to your heart," Merrin said of the possibility that his rep career had come to a premature end.
"A lot of things come into the back of your mind but I think the best thing that I did was just to concentrate on my footy. I had some great team-mates around me to really pull me through and get me through that tough period.
"I really had to sacrifice a bit at the start of the year to find my feet at the club and to adjust to being out west.
"As soon as I did and I felt comfortable out there and we found the style of footy that we knew we were capable of playing I really started to enjoy my footy a lot more and it rejuvenated my footy career.
"It's been a tough period but my full focus now is getting this game and doing the best I possibly can for the team."
The Kiwis announced their 19-man squad for Saturday night and although Meninga is yet to reveal exactly who will line up for the Kangaroos Merrin knows what to expect should he earn his second Test jersey.
"Last time I played them they beat us by 30 last year so they're definitely going to be tough," said the 27-year-old.
"They're going to be big through the middle so that's going to be our main priority."