Merrin praises top-shelf opponents

Panthers back-rower Trent Merrin was full of praise when talking about his side’s opponents for Sunday’s clash, the Cronulla Sharks.

Speaking to the media during the week, the former Origin player said the Sharks have been great in 2016 and possess a range of attacking options across the paddock.

“They’ve been fantastic all year,” said Merrin.

“They’ve got a mix of everything. The old heads, the X-Factors and young talent so all credit to them; they’ve been awesome this year.

With the Panthers currently sitting just outside the NRL top 8, Merrin acknowledges Sunday’s match against the Sharks will be a tough task for his side.

“It’s going to be a great test for us to come up against the number one team.”

Despite the team from the Shire missing five of their State of Origin stars, Merrin was quick to respond with an call to action against the Sharks.

“I’d actually love to play them with the players in because I think that’s where you get a true test of character and you want to play against the best players but we’ll take them on without their guns.

“They’re still going to be a handful.

“Players step up when their leaders are out so it’s definitely going to be a cracking game.”

The game will be missing seven players in total (5 – Sharks, 2 – Panthers) however with the Sharks looking to continue their undefeated run in 2016 and the Panthers looking to push their way into the top 8, the game promises to be one to watch.