Former Rhino Merrin announces retirement

Former Leeds Rhinos player Trent Merrin, heritage number 1445, has announced his retirement from the game with immediate effect having started this season with St George Illawarra.

Although only at the Rhinos for a disrupted season in 2019, the former Penrith Panther played an important role to the club stabilizing as one of the senior players that campaign.

A 13-time New South Wales representative between 2011-15 – all off the bench and scoring once in a third game defeat in 2013 – he received his international call up for the 2015 Anzac Test, won by the Kiwis at Lang Park.

Merrin was in the side that gained revenge a year later in Perth, playing in all four of the 2016 Four Nations clashes, scoring his sole international try against New Zealand in the final at Anfield.

His last international appearance was also in the Anzac clash the following year, when the Kiwis were downed in Canberra.

Originally graded at St George in 2009, winning the Grand Final a year later and to where he returned after his Headingley stint, Merrin made six finals appearances for the Dragons and a similar number for the Panthers, adding three for NSW Country and two for the NRL All Stars.

He scored four tries in 28 appearances for the Rhinos and was in the top ten for competition tackles and carries, and second in offloads.

The Leeds skipper headed all three of those categories for the club, ending top of the Rhinos’ Opta Index for the season.

He said of his time at Leeds: “It was a real pleasure to be part of such a prestigious club, an honour to lead the boys out and something I’ll hold on to forever.

“The fans were like family to us and supported us through one of the toughest times in our lives and that’s deep ingrained in our hearts.”

“I’m very happy to be able to finish my career on my own terms. This was a decision where I had to be true to myself. I have outgrown the game and the game has outgrown me, although my appreciation for rugby league will never die,” Merrin said.

“My dream growing up was always to play for the Dragons, a club I have always held in high esteem. I have achieved everything my younger self ever wanted and that is something I’ll always be grateful for.

“The time I spent at the Penrith Panthers, another prestigious club I hold close to my heart, remains one of the proudest things I also had the pleasure of being part of.

“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything I have without my family and the sacrifices they made. They, alongside my beautiful fiancé and baby boy, have been there throughout the highs and lows of my career.

“They also rode the wave of emotion when it came to this decision to conclude a wonderful career. I’m keen to see the younger players step up in my place as the Dragons continues its exciting journey.”

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin paid tribute to Merrin in wake of his decision to retire.

“I had the privilege of coaching Trent across four seasons of his career. He’s a tremendous team man and will be sorely missed throughout the playing group,” Griffin said.

“Trent has accomplished everything there is to do in rugby league and leaves behind a great legacy as a premiership winner with St George Illawarra.”

Dragons general manager of football Ben Haran confirmed the Dragons would celebrate the career of Trent at the club’s upcoming Round 8 home game against the Wests Tigers at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Sunday, May 2.

“Everyone at the Dragons is really supportive of Trent’s decision. He is a player and person of the highest character and quality and must be congratulated for an outstanding career,” Haran said.

“Trent will undoubtedly go down as a legend of the St George Illawarra Dragons and we look forward to celebrating his career and contributions to the club over the coming weeks.”

On behalf of everyone at the club, we would like to wish Trent and his family all the best for the future and the next exciting step in his career.