Merrin becomes Leeds Rhinos latest marquee signing

Leeds Rhinos have secured a major signing by capturing Australian Test forward Trent Merrin, 29, from NRL side Penrith Panthers on a four-year contract beating competition from a number of NRL clubs for his signature.

A natural leader, Merrin has played over 200 games in the NRL having spent seven seasons with the St George Illawarra Dragons before joining Penrith in 2016. He joins Konrad Hurrell as the club’s second marquee signing for 2019.

He was a Premiership winner in his second season in the NRL in 2010 and was part of the NSW State of Origin set up a year later. In 2014 he added an Origin medal to his collection before scoring in the Four Nations Final to help Australia win the title. In total he has seven caps for Australia, the last coming in 2017 against New Zealand.

Merrin becomes the Rhinos fifth new signing for 2019 joining half backs Tui Lolohea and Callum McLelland along with centre Konrad Hurrell and prop Dom Crosby.

Commenting on the signing Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield said, “We are delighted to have signed Trent and look forward to welcoming him to the Rhinos club. He is an international class forward who was a regular last season for Penrith Panthers in the NRL. He has an outstanding reputation in Australia for his leadership within a group and is someone who has played for a decade at the highest level of the game. He will complement our current group of forwards and is another indication of the ambition of the club to move forward into a new exciting era.”

Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington commented, “This is hugely significant for not just Leeds Rhinos but the Super League competition and shows the ambition of our club to compete at the very top of the game. Trent was Dave Furner’s number one target and it has come as a major boost to have secured a player of his quality on a long-term contract.”

Penrith executive general manager Phil Gould AM commented, “Trent Merrin has given our club three years of outstanding service, both on and off the field. Panthers played finals football in each of the three seasons he spent at the club. Apart from the tremendous football he has played, Trent has been instrumental in mentoring the careers of a number of our young players. We wish Trent well with his new challenge in the English Super League. Leeds has secured itself a very good man.”

Merrin commented, “I have done everything I possibly could in the NRL and this is a great opportunity for me to come to a great club with a fantastic culture and hopefully achieve some goals together. It is good to have clarity about my future, I am looking forward to coming to a new country, stepping outside of my comfort zone and being part of something special with Leeds.

“There is a lot I still want to achieve. I want to put my best foot forward and, when I eventually come back home, I want to be able to look back on a special period in my life.

“I have spent time with Dave Furner in camp before and enjoyed the experience. He is obviously well respected at Leeds from his time there as a player and has built an impressive coaching career in the NRL since then,” added Merrin.