Nathan Merritt awakes from coma in hospital, set to leave the hospital soon

The South Sydney legend has awoken from his coma, one week after being found unresponsive and left fighting for his life.



The Rabbitohs have confirmed that Nathan Merritt was awake and surrounded by his immediate family at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney’s inner west on Friday.


“Fantastic news tonight!” Souths posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.


“The Merritt family has updated us that Nath is now awake with his immediate family by his side.




“He remains in hospital receiving brilliant care from his doctors and nurses. Keep that recovery going, Merro! We are all behind you!”


Merritt had been taken to hospital and placed on life support last Friday after he was found unresponsive at his aunt’s house, one week after playing in the Koori Knockout.


The former NSW State of Origin winger was believed to have had an adverse reaction to prescribed pain-killers.


Merritt’s sister had taken to social media during the week there had been a slight improvement in the 40-year-old’s condition, before Friday’s update.



The flyer is one of the most beloved figures in South Sydney’s modern history, playing 218 of his 237 first-grade games across two stints at the Redfern club.


He retired in 2014 as the Rabbitohs’ all-time leading try scorer and second-most capped player since the club’s foundation in 1908.


He remains the second-most prolific scorer in the club’s history, behind his 2014 successor Alex Johnston, and Souths’ fourth-most capped player.


Merritt grew up in public housing in Redfern and made his NRL debut for the Rabbitohs as an 18-year-old in 2002, the season the club was reinstated into the NRL.



He was the NRL’s top-tryscorer for 2006 – his first season back at South Sydney following two years with Cronulla – and again in 2011.


Merritt is the equal 12th-most prolific tryscorer in Australian rugby league history, having crossed the line 154 times for Souths and Cronulla.


In round 22 of the 2011 season, he became the first Rabbitoh since 1957 to score five tries in a game when he starred in a 56-6 thrashing of Parramatta.


In 2009, Merritt showed his versatility by kicking an unlikely field goal to win the game for Souths against Wests Tigers at the SCG.



For his clutch play, Merritt was awarded the Peter Frilingos Award for ‘headline moment of the year’ at the 2009 Dally Ms.


On the representative stage, Merritt made a long-awaited Origin debut for NSW in the 2013 series, and played for City Origin twice.


He represented the Indigenous All Stars on three occasions, earning man of the match honours for the third of those appearances in 2012.


After walking away from the game, Merritt had remained part of the Rabbitohs’ wider club, having taken up a role with the organisation’s community arm Souths Cares.

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