Nathan Merritt

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Nathan Merritt
Nathan Merritt2.jpg
Merritt playing for North Sydney Bears
Personal information
Full name Nathan Deane Merritt
Nickname Merro, Natdogg, Mezzo
Born (1983-05-26) 26 May 1983 (age 31)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height 181 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 90 kg (14 st 2 lb)
Playing information
Position Wing, Fullback
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2002–03 South Sydney 23 12 1 0 50
2004–05 Cronulla-Sutherland 19 8 6 0 44
2006–2014 South Sydney 195 134 33 1 603
Total 237 154 40 1 697
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2006–11 PM's XIII 2 2 1 0 10
2010–12 Indigenous All stars 3 3 0 0 12
2011–13 City NSW 2 0 0 0 0
2013 New South Wales 1 0 0 0 0
Source: [1][2] [3]

Nathan Merritt (born 26 May 1983 in Sydney, New South Wales) is a retired Australian professional rugby league footballer. A New South Wales State of Origin representative winger, he played for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and South Sydney Rabbitohs in the National Rugby League. Merritt has also played representative football for the Indigenous Australian and Prime Minister's XIII sides. A prolific try-scorer, he was the NRL's top try-scorer in 2006 and 2011 and in 2013 became the 9th player in the history of the League to score 150 tries. He was a part of the Rabbitohs squad that won the 2014 NRL Premiership.

Background[edit]

Merritt is an Indigenous Australian who grew up on "The Block" in Redfern, South Sydney. He played his early football in the South Sydney Juniors competition for the Alexandria Rovers.

Professional playing career[edit]

2000s[edit]

His first-grade debut was for the South Sydney Rabbitohs against the New Zealand Warriors at Ericsson Stadium in round 9 of the 2002 NRL season, scoring a try on debut. At the end of the 2003 season Merritt agreed to terms with the Cronulla Sharks where he was to play for the next two years. In the 2005 season, Merritt endured a tough year. He played only three first grade games for the Sharks, but was a stand-out player in the lower grade NSWRL Premier League matches for the Newtown Jets, scoring almost 300 points for the year. In one game against the Windsor Wolves, he scored 40 points (including 5 tries). At the end of the season, Merritt picked up a number of awards including Newtown RLFC VB Premier League Players’ Player award, as well as having the distinction of being the Jets highest season point scorer, as well as most points in a game. [4] (as of 2005). His outstanding showing that year was rewarded when his old club South Sydney offered him a two-year contract to play in the NRL.

For the 2006 NRL season, Merritt re-joined the Rabbitohs and was a stand-out performer in an underachieving side all year, and was one of only three players to play all 24 games for the club. In September the same year, Nathan's hard work and great performances through the year culminated in the announcement that he had earned his first representative honour, to play for the Prime Minister's XIII on their annual end of season tour to Papua New Guinea, the only South Sydney player to make in the squad. The Ausssies beat the Papua New Guinea Kumuls 28-8, with Merritt one of the try-scorers. He was also included in the train-on squad for the Kangaroos squad for the 2006 Tri-Nations tournament against England and New Zealand, but missed out on a starting position. He was the highest try scorer for the 2006 season with 22 tries, beating Manly Sea Eagles' fullback Brett Stewart who scored 20. It was the first time in Australian rugby league history that the leading try scorer in a season played for the club that finished last on the competition ladder.

In 2007, Merritt, along with then-Sydney Roosters star Amos Roberts, appeared in the rap music video for Anthony Mundine's "Platinum Ryder" single. US hip-hop artist Snoop Lion, the artist previously known as Snoop Dogg - said to be a Rabbitohs fan - has reportedly named Merritt as his favourite NRL player. Following the announcement of the City Origin squad in 2007, Merritt hinted that his non-selection was possibly due to "a Souths thing or a racial thing". This comment was lambasted and in rebuttal to this comment critics pointed to the selection of Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne (Fiji) and Canterbury-Bankstown's Hazem El Masri (Lebanon) as evidence that selections had not been racially motivated.[5]

2010s[edit]

On 8 August 2011 Merritt equaled the South Sydney club record of 5 tries in a match when he scored five against the Parramatta at ANZ Stadium in a 56-6 win, joining greats such as Harold Horder, Johnny Graves and Ian Moir to have scored five tries in a match for the Rabbitohs. He followed this up just eight days later with a three try performance against the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium, in doing so he became the first player since former Raiders fullback Brett Mullins in 1994 to score eight tries within eight days in the NRL. Merritt's haul also saw him become clear leading try scorer for the 2011 NRL season with 21 from 21 games, six tries more than Canterbury's Ben Barba with four rounds left to play before the Finals. After the regular season Merritt finished on 23 tries for the year [equal with Barba], a personal best with his previous best being 22 in 2006. After his brilliant form in 2011, Merritt was again selected to play for the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea.

During the 2012 All Stars Match Merritt scored 2 tries and was awarded the Preston Campbell Medal for Man of the Match. At the end of the 2012 season in which he crossed for 14 tries in 19 games to be the Rabbitohs second highest try scorer behind rookie winger Andrew Everingham (17 from 25 games), Merritt was included in the Australian train-on squad for the end of season test against New Zealand in Townsville, but once again he was not one of the 17 selected for the match. On 18 June 2013 Nathan Merritt was selected for NSW for Game 2 of the 2013 State of Origin series following the suspension of Blake Ferguson. On 27 September 2013, Merritt equaled Benny Wearing's record for the most number of tries scored (144) by an individual while playing for the South Sydney Rabitohs, and broke this record with his 145th try, scoring against Penrith at Centrebet Stadium on the 11 April 2014.

On 24 September 2014 Merritt announced his retirement from rugby league after showing lackluster performance in both the NRL and NSW Cup competitions.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]