Murray ready to make his mark in Rabbitohs starting side
Boom South Sydney Rabbitohs lock Cameron Murray may have started just four of his 12 NRL games to date but after winning plenty of admirers with his hard-working performances, he says he is ready to assume the role of starting lock for the cardinal and myrtle.
Murray is acutely aware of the history of the famous club; the Mascot junior grew up in the area while his father Corey notched 12 first grade starts for the club in the early 90s. His sister Bryanna plays for the Bunnies' Tarsha Gale side.
South Sydney is in his blood and the fact he now wears a jersey worn with distinction with greats of the game from Ron Coote to Sam Burgess is not lost on the former Junior Kangaroo and NSW under-20s captain.
"I love starting and I love getting as many minutes as possible, giving myself the best chance to prove myself to the coaching staff and players around me that I'm worthy I guess of being a starter in this team," Murray told NRL.com ahead of this week's Good Friday clash against the Bulldogs.
"I'm just happy to play my own game," he added of the famous jersey.
"I do take in consideration the history of the club and the No.13 jersey, there's been a lot of greats to come through the club and wear that number. I try not to get too caught up in that because I'll starting overthinking it and overplaying it."
The chance to play for the club he grew up loving is one Murray realises not every aspiring league player gets.
"I'm very lucky, very privileged and honoured to be able to grant myself a childhood dream with the South Sydney Rabbitohs," he said.
"My dad played for the club; it's instilled in my family because I grew up in the area and played for the juniors.
"I'm incredibly lucky compared to other players who have to look elsewhere from where they grew up and dreamed of playing as a kid. I'm just enjoying the ride at the moment, I'm loving what we're doing here.
"When I sit back at home and it runs through my head I can get caught up in it a bit and if I think about it too much it will probably affect my game so I'll probably appreciate it a lot more when I retire and realise I got to live out my childhood dream.
"At the moment I'm trying to keep a level head, a narrow focus and just try and do little things right."
Murray's round eight debut last year was, unsurprisingly, a special time not just for himself but for his family.
"It's pretty hazy to be honest," he said.
"It didn't feel real at the time and looking back on it now I can't really remember too much of what was going through my head because everything was going 100 miles an hour. It was a special moment for me and my family.
"They handled it really well, I could see they were excited, I could see the excitement in their faces but they did a great job keeping level headed. It was a special moment and I can't wait to see what my future here at the club holds."
That immediate future is a huge Good Friday clash against Canterbury; the 2018 installment will be Murray's first appearance in the annual fixture.
"It's my first Good Friday clash so I'm really looking forward to it, it's a big one on the calendar every year, they get a good crowd every year so it will be a good atmosphere hopefully and the boys should rise to the occasion," Murray said.
Murray's work rate has been just one of his noticeable traits in his young career to date. He made 40 tackles in 69 minutes in the big win over Manly last week – a match where his side held 58% of the ball and there were plenty of stoppages for the eight tries scored.
In the previous week's late loss to Penrith, he churned through a mammoth 46 tackles in just 53 minutes. So can fans expect the relentless tackling machine to keep up his recent efforts?
"It's not really my mission to go out and make a million tackles a week!" Murray laughed.
"In different situations you make more, against Penrith we didn't have as much possession as we did against Manly so we had to make more tackles in a shorter amount of time.
"It was a better game against Manly because we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot, we held the ball and completed well and had some energy off the back of that to play some shape."
Having got their first win in impressive style, Murray hoped the improvements would continue.
"We probably just had an extra two weeks together working on combinations so I guess it all just clicked for us," he said.
"It's a credit to the coaching staff, they saw the potential to the team they picked in round one and they haven't really changed it since so we're really starting to get some results on the back of some hard work."