IT’S been a highly successful year for former Milton-Ulladulla junior and Canberra Raiders’ up-and-comer Jack Murchie, with the tough second-rower only having a NRL jersey left to add to his ever-growing mantle for 2017.
Having celebrated his 21st birthday just two months ago, Murchie earned man-of-the-match honours and scored a try in the NSW under 20s victory over Queensland earlier of the year, which was only a few weeks after representing the Junior Kangaroos in their commanding victory against New Zealand.
He’s tough, uncompromising, and certainly a first-grader-in-waiting; further proven by his recent promotion from the Holden Cup to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW for Mounties, which he hopes is a step in the right direction to the NRL debut that he so eagerly awaits.
“Playing for Canberra would be a dream come true, it’s all I have wanted to do since I was a kid,” Murchie said to NSWRL.com.au.
“Hopefully I can hold my spot here [at Mounties] and keep playing good footy to build to next year to maybe get a crack, but we’ll see what happens.”
In that NSW under 20s side, where he tore apart Queensland at Suncorp Stadium, were no less than six teammates who now have at least one NRL appearance next to their name.
Cameron Murray, Curtis Scott, Jai Field, Nat Butcher, Victor Radley and Blake Laurie have all represented their respective club at the top level this year, while Jesse Ramien played for Cronulla in the World Club Challenge.
There is no doubt Murchie is capable of debuting in the near future – particularly due to his Mounties promotion from the Holden Cup which is the standard progression for young players into first grade – and seeing his Blues teammates achieve the same dream inspires him to do the same.
“Seeing those boys step up and get their first grade debut, it really gives me confidence knowing that I’ve played with them and if they can do it I know I can too” Murchie, who also spent a year playing for Gerringong, said.
“Sticky [Ricky Stuart] and the other coaches have already taught me so much - I set a couple of goals that I wanted to crack this year and I’ve pretty much got them all as of now except for playing first grade.
“I’ve got to keep working away and I’ll get to that final goal eventually.”
The 10-8 victory to Mounties at the weekend ensured they will play finals in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW this year, and Murchie is now an imperative part of their campaign.
He’s had no trouble adjusting to the different standard of competition, admitting that while the Holden Cup is a lot faster, the Intrust Super Premiership is more physical and the contact makes it tougher.
The conditions were wild against Newtown at Henson Park, and the win gave Murchie and his teammates confidence heading into the business end of the season.
“It was definitely a grind, one of the toughest game’s that I have ever played in, Newtown really put it to us there and the boys did well to dig in and hold on,” Muchie said
“It was windy, we had to shorten those passes up a bit, the wingers were under a bit of pressure with some of those kicks, certainly it was different.”
“We’re close to closing out a finals spot now, if we get there I think the competition will step up another level but I think the boys have got it in them to go all the way.”
Despite Canberra boasting one of the biggest and most impressive forward packs in the NRL, there seems little doubt that Murchie will be an important part of their first grade setup in the future.