Former Group 16 and Group 6 product Jack Murchie achieved a lifelong dream, making is NRL first grade debut for the Canberra Raiders.
Murchie entered the field in the 54th minute, becoming Raider #352, in his side’s controversial 28-24 loss to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Southern Cross Stadium on Friday night.
“Looking back on it, I thought I went well and held my own – despite the game being played at an extremely fast pace,” Murchie said.
“People had warned me about the pace of the game prior to getting out there, and despite thinking I was ready, nothing can prepare you for how quick it actually is.
“It was everything I had imagined and more – it was a dream come true.”
Prior to the game, Murchie, 21, received his debut jersey from 254-game NRL veteran and former Australian player Gary Belcher, in the sheds with his family present.
“We arrived two hours before the game and it was very special to receive my jersey from Raiders legend Gary Belcher,” he said.
“To be able to chat with him prior to the game was very special and I really enjoyed it.
“After that, the preparation was normal, as I just tried to treat it the same as any other game.”
Belcher wasn’t the only one giving Murchie, who won a first grade Group Seven premiership with Gerringong in 2015, advice prior to the game.
“During warm-up, all the players and staff got around me and gave me tips, which gave me plenty of confidence,” Murchie said.
“In particular, just before I got out there, Ricky [Stuart] told me to make sure of my defence but to most importantly enjoy myself – which I did.”
After fulltime, Murchie caught up with his friends and family who’d made the journey to Sydney to share his milestone night with him.
“It was good to have all my family there and to catch-up with them on the fence after the game – they were all over the moon,” he said.
“It was also really special to have mates from Canberra and that 2015 Gerringong premiership side, like Nathan Ford, Kal Collins and Isaac Russell, there.
“They all made the night even more special and memorable for me.”
Now that the dust has settled on his debut, Murchie hopes to add to his one career cap in the future.
“It’s great to have has a taste of the NRL now,” he said.
“We have a couple of top quality stars coming back into the side this week, so that might knock me back down the pecking order.
“But I’m going to continue learning and I now know the level I need to be at to be consistently competing week in, week out.
“I’m sure this whole experience will better prepare me if I get another chance in the top grade in the future.”