MILTON-ULLADULLA Bulldogs product Jack Murchie will play his first NRL game of the season this Sunday, as his Canberra Raiders battle the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Lottoland.
Murchie, who played two NRL games in 2018 including his debut against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, has been rewarded for his strong form with the Mounties in the Canterbury Cup by being named on the bench for Ricky Stuart's squad.
The 21-year-old backrower has helped the Mounties sit in first place after six rounds, with five wins and a draw to their names.
He and Emre Guler come into the squad in the place of JJ Collins and Hudson Young.
"I've been really happy with my and the team's form in the Canterbury Cup this year," Murchie said.
"The club's had a great start to the year, so hopefully they can push on the rest of the season.
"Personally, I've used my time with the Mounties to add some versatility to my game, by spending time in the middle, as well as on the edge.
"I haven't played much in the middle before, so I've been learning heaps - I'm hoping this added versatility will help me moving forward."
When Murchie gets out into the play on Sunday, he hopes to be able to contribute to the Raiders building on their 5-1 start to the campaign.
"Last year it took me until round 19 to get into first grade, so to get back in there by round seven this year is great - it's shows I've grown as a player from last season," he said.
"At the start of the year, I set out to play 10 first grade games this season - I know it's a high number but I've always been one to aim big.
"Hopefully I can put my best foot forward on Sunday and hold my spot.
"My aim is to bring impact and energy off the bench, which hopefully help the team win it's sixth game of the season."
Sunday's clash with Manly will pit Murchie up against close friend Reuben Garrick, who he won a Group Seven premierships with for the Gerringong Lions in 2015.
"I'm really looking forward to playing against Reuben," he said.
"He's one of my best mates, who I've played with and against for a very long time.
"This year he's taken his opportunity at Manly with both hands and played every game this year, which is a credit to how hard he works.
"There's been a little back and forth between us this week - I'm sure there'll be a couple of chances for us give it to one another on the field.
"At the end of the day, it's great to see two South Coast boys performing on the big stage."