MILTON-ULLADULLA'S Jack Murchie has been rewarded for his strong work ethic at training by being named in the New Zealand Warriors' round 15 squad to face the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Murchie, who has 10 NRL caps to his name, will start from the bench for Sunday's clash at ANZ Stadium.
After making a mid-season move from the Raiders to the Warriors, Murchie made seven straight appearances for the club.
However, after starting in the back-row and playing 49 minutes for the club during their 16-12 round nine loss to the Titans, the Group Seven junior was dropped and has subsequently missed the Warriors' next five fixtures.
The Batemans Bay-born talent remained positive and pushed strongly for selection..
"I wouldn't say it's been frustrating, as I've understood why I haven't been in the 17-man squad," the 23-year-old said.
"I've just been trying to control what I can, which is working hard on my game and making the most of our time here in Terrigal.
"In particular, I've been concentrating on improving my movements in defence, especially when I get fatigued out on the field.
"Thankfully the coaching staff have noticed my efforts and I get another chance to play this weekend - I can't wait to back out there with the boys."
Murchie, who comes in for the suspended Eliesa Katoa, is one of two changes for Todd Payten's squad following their tight 18-12 loss to competition front-runners Penrith.
"Todd [Payten] was really happy with the boys' efforts against the Panthers, who have one of the best defences in the competition," Murchie said.
"Obviously everyone's happy with how we competed but at the end of the day, we can't just be content with pushing those top sides, we want to be beating them on a week-to-week basis.
"The whole squad took plenty of belief from that match that we are on the right track and will be trying to produce performances like that every time we step on the field."
With only six more matches during the regular season, the former Kiama High School student is keen to prove himself - especially before new head coach Nathan Brown joins the club.
"I've never had the pleasure of meeting Browny [Nathan Brown] but have heard lots of good things," he said.
"I'm sure when he gets to the club, he will put his own spin on how we approach the game.
"I'm really excited to work and learn as much as I can from him."
As well as Brown, the Auckland-based club have added plenty of firepower to their squad for next season, including former Shellharbour Shark Euan Aitken and Kane Evans from the Eels.
"Our recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan has been really busy lately, which is exciting for the club," he said.
"All the players that have already put pen to paper have plenty of NRL experience, which will only make our club stronger across the board and help take us to where we want to be."
He is set for a big match on the weekend.
"We haven't gone into the specifics of the game plan yet, but the Bulldogs are a side who have been unlucky on a number of occasions and their position on the table isn't a true indication of how they're travelling," he said.
"They're always tough, especially through the middle, so anything less than our best won't be enough come Sunday afternoon."
It's not just on the field that Murchie is putting in the work, as he and numerous other Gerringong Lions are growing their mullets for mental health awareness, until the end of September.
"Even though the initiative has been only running for just over a week, our team has already raised more than $70,000 for mental health," Murchie, who won a first grade premiership with the Lions in 2015, said.
"It's a topic that's close to my heart and it's been great to see a club and community like Gerringong rally together like this.
"All the boys at the Warriors have been really supportive too - as they can see how important and worthwhile the cause is."
You can jump in donate to Murchie's cause, run by the Black Dog Institute, here.