DUMPED to reserve grade and off contract at the end of the year, speculation is rising that South Sydney great Nathan Merritt could be leaving the club.
Merritt played in North Sydney’s loss to Wentworthville in the NSW Cup last week and the 31-year-old was a standout for the Bears, with his performance only highlighting the fact that he would walk into the starting side of many NRL clubs.
Merritt was not at the Bears’ Friday training prior to the match against Wentworthville, and has not been named in the side this week.
But North Sydney coach Wayne Lambkin said Merritt had the right attitude towards his demotion and showed his leadership skills.
“Nathan Merritt had a great impact,’’ Lambkin said.
“He was responsible for some really good kick returns. He involved himself right from the very first set.
“Me and Matty King both thought he really took it the right way and got himself involved in the game and really shone.”
Lambkin indicated South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has decided to rest the winger as cover for Rabbitohs players who are in action over this representative weekend.
Merritt’s problem is that South Sydney’s generation next has caught up with him.
Maguire has made no secret that he is planning for the future, already blooding five NRL rookies this season.
Australian Schoolboys star Alex Johnston starred in his debut against the Broncos last weekend and looms as a regular first-grader.
If Merritt does leave the Rabbitohs, Parramatta looms as a logical new home for the 153-try flyer.
With Eels coach Brad Arthur taking a more flamboyant approach to his side’s structure, Merritt’s finishing ability would be a welcome addition to a relatively inexperienced backline.
Merritt’s relationship with reformed halfback Chris Sandow could be another telling point in a possible switch.
Find the story published on The Daily telegraph – http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/nathan-merritt-rumoured-to-be-on-his-way-out-of-south-sydney-with-parramatta-a-potential-destination/story-fni3gki8-1226902452840