Merrin wins the long-term battle with bullying

For quite some time, he struggled with obesity, and now that he is making a name for himself in the NRL, Dragons prop Trent Merrin is celebrating a well-deserved victory.

It was only a few short years ago, that Merrin tipped the scales at 110kg, for a 14-year old – in fact, his weight was so much, that there was no school uniform that would fit him.

Set to make his NSW debut on Wednesday night, Merrin no longer has to worry about anything to do with obesity, as he now sports a frame that is reminiscent of a typical footballers.

After being rejected to play rep footy in his junior days, Merrin made pacts to himself, and has kept them ever since he first wrote them.

There were to be no more sugar-coated foods, no more McDonalds and no more fatty foods at all. All of this, was to be replaced by a daily run at 6am, as well as working on the boxing pads in his own backyard.

It simply said: “I’m sick of never making any rep teams. This is the year I’m going to make a name for the Merrins.”

“I was always a big boy and going to school having to buy the biggest shirts and the bigger pants was hard,” Merrin said.

“Sometimes sizes wouldn’t fit, so I’d have to wear different sort of clothes, but the same colours just to try to fit in.

“Having kids look at you and put slack on you, there was a time when I used to go home and do it a bit tough.

“I remember when I was about eight years old, Mum came into my room one day and sat me down and asked what was wrong.

“And I just said I was sick of being the fat kid at school.

“Then I remember Dad stormed in and said, ‘Righto, let’s go, in the backyard.’

“So we put the gloves on and he put me through some pads and that’s where it all started.”

If anyone is laughing at Merrin after his hard work and determination, he is not too fussed about that, as Joey Matupaku, a Bulldogs lower-grader found out, with his picture on Merrin’s punching bag.

“I’ve grown up with Joey and he’s a great bloke. It was nothing against him, he was just the kid who kept beating me,” Merrin said.

The process for Merrin started off slowly, as the weight just would not go away, but it was a meeting with former South Sydney and NSW player David Boyle, that turned Merrin’s life around.

“They had dietitians come in and talk to us, and professional training schedules,” Merrin said.

“That was the biggest problem: I didn’t have the right idea on what to eat.

“Once I got that little bit of knowledge I started shredding the weight and feeling good about myself.”

With Merrin already being compared to one of the games greatest ever front-rowers in Glenn Lazarus, Merrin also possesses some smooth footwork, due to being enrolled in jazz and ballet classes by his mother.

“I didn’t have girls and I did dancing when I was young. So the boys used to go to football training and then go to dancing straight after,” Karen said

“Even though Trent was overweight, he still always won man of the match at football.

“I reckon he was funnier when he was fatter. I think he used that as a cover-up for his weight.

“As he slimmed down, he sort of started becoming more serious about things.”

For Merrin, the chance to represent NSW is one that he cannot wait for, and one that he cannot wait to grasp with both hands.

“I’ve never got a look in for a rep team in my life so, to get this chance, I’m ready to throw my heart into it,” Merrin said.

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