Similar size, strength and footwork but two very different players, Canterbury’s Greg Eastwood looks to shut down the Dragons’ Trent Merrin this Sunday.
Coming off an injury in the pre-season, Eastwood only has four matches under his belt this year and was awarded with selection for New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Test last Friday.
A quiet achiever at Belmore, and one that doesn’t boast the same impressive statistics of some other representative players, Eastwood will play his 150th first grade game this weekend.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Eastwood made his debut for the Broncos in the last round of season 2005 and has since played 149 first grade games including 20 Tests for the Kiwi’s and two World Cup’s.
With a similar shape to his opposing lock Trent Merrin, Eastwood has played prop, second row and lock since debuting as a winger for Brisbane. He arrived at the Dogs in 2009 and quickly became known as an enforcer, leading the Bulldogs to the Preliminary Final. He also had a season with Leeds Rhinos in 2010 before returning to the Bulldogs in 2011.
At 24 years of age, the Shellharbour Sharks junior Merrin made his debut for the Red V back in Round 12, 2009. At a relatively small 181cm and 102kg, Merrin is a very similar build to Eastwood in the sense he can play up in the middle and also terrorise opposition on the edges.
Arguably the Dragons most consistent player and a current NSW Origin representative, Merrin will be looking to retain his sky blue jumper by having a massive game this Sunday.
“Trent’s a tremendous player, and he’s an Origin player, and we know that there’s plenty of things he’s got that make him that player. We need to make sure we’re stopping his offload and he’s got good feet at the line
“But at the end of the day there’s 12 other blokes out there too and if he does get an offload, that’s what he’s good at doing so its not him that’s making it it’s the bloke that’s pushing through. So we need to make sure we’re tight around him and we’re doing a job on the 12 other blokes as well because as you know its not a one person sport,” said Tolman on Trent Merrin.
The bullocking forward with fancy footwork is averaging 41 tackles per game (8th best in the NRL) and has made 16 offloads this year (4th in the NRL). He leads the competition for running metres with a total of 1290m from 8 games at an average of 161m per game. Merrin also ranks 3rd in the NRL for hit-ups/runs with 135.
Mum’s the word this Sunday at ANZ Stadium when the Dragons and the Bulldogs clash in the Mother’s Day blockbuster in Round 9 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
From the moment female fans enter the ground they will be greeted with an Urban Rituelle Mother’s Day gift before heading to the “pamper zone”.
There will be an NRL “fun zone” for children and mums can enjoy a massage and a glass of sparkling wine courtesy of McGuigan Wines.
NRL Junior Pass Holders can show their pass at any Box Office to redeem a ticket so they can bring mum to the Dragons game for free, while a walk-up family ticket is only $40 at the gate.
Mums will be celebrated with a sky writing message and messages on the big screen; and fans can post selfies with their mums at #NRLthankmum.
The Knights will honour their mums on Saturday by wearing pink jerseys against the Panthers and upgrading the family seat at Hunter Stadium. And for families who arrive before 1pm, the children can eat free.
The first 2,000 children under 12-years-old will receive a free meal courtesy of OAK and Four’N Twenty.
Sharks fans can purchase a “Mothers of League” membership for $50 which includes two tickets to any match, a member’s scarf and the NRL Digital pass for four weeks free.
What’s on for Mother’s Day at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
Mother’s Day Gifts
· Mother’s Day gifts to the first 6,000 through gates B and K (main entry gates for Club and General Admission ticket holders)
· Women In League (WIL) thundersticks to the first 10,000 through gates B and K
· Skywriting message of “NRL Thanks Mum” over ANZ Stadium at 2:35pm.
· Located upstairs in the South West Terrace opposite Aisle 134
· Operational from gates open (12.40pm) until 4pm
· “5 Minute Angels” giving females/mums a massage
· A complimentary glass of Sparkling Wine and canapés served while waiting for a massage.
Food and Beverage
· Vili’s Bites Combo Giveaway
· First 1,000 through the gates will receive a voucher to redeem a Villi’s Trio Sampler pack including two mini-pies and a mini sausage roll from any retail outlet.
· Vouchers collected at entry gates B and K on arrival.
· Roving Musicians
· Kids Activity Zones inside and outside ANZ Stadium.