This is the highlight of my career: Merrin
Kangaroos forward Trent Merrin has achieved plenty throughout his eight-year career, but according to him, being a part of the Four Nations squad sits comfortably at the top.
It's a big statement considering he won a grand final with the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2010, and has represented the NSW Blues 13 times at State of Origin level.
Merrin earned his first cap in the 2015 Anzac Test against the Kiwis, coming off the bench in Australia's 26-12 loss in Brisbane, but had to wait until last month's match in Perth for a recall.
It was just reward for a player many deemed unlucky to miss out on Origin selection this year.
The Panthers lock got through a mountain of work against Scotland at the weekend in the Four Nations opener, churning out 25 tackles and running for 157 metres in his 39 minutes off the bench.
The 27-year-old had a stellar first year at the Panthers where he ran for 3,891 metres, made 861 tackles and produced 56 offloads to deservedly take home the Merv Cartwright Medal as the club's best and fairest player.
Now he's reaping the rewards with the crème de la crème of the NRL, and he's loving every minute of it.
"Just being around the calibre of players that we have here, it's definitely been the highlight of my career," Merrin said.
"Just to learn off them and excel my game to a new level, it's definitely been a great few weeks so far and it's going to get better.
"I always love putting on that green and gold jersey. It's what every player aspires to be. It's definitely something I want to be a part of for years. I'll be preparing the best I possibly can to stay in it."
Another man thankful to be in the UK is Cowboys flyer Justin O'Neill, who made his Kangaroos debut in the 54-12 win over Scotland.
The 25-year-old was in line to represent Vanuatu for their match against the Solomon Islands in October but was made unavailable after being selected in Mal Meninga's 24-man squad for the Four Nations.
O'Neill ran for 100 metres and looked at home at left centre against the Scots, and while he'll likely make way for Greg Inglis for the New Zealand game, he said it was a massive honour to have been given the opportunity to play a Test.
"The jersey presentations was something special for me," O'Neill said.
"To be presented my jumper by one of my fellow teammates - Matt Scott - was pretty special. It's something that I pride and I am definitely very honoured to say I've represented my country."