Leeds have pulled off a major coup in signing Australia international Trent Merrin from Penrith on a four-year marquee contract.
The Rhinos have beaten a number of NRL clubs to secure his signature for 2019 and beyond.
Merrin has played over 200 games in the NRL having spent seven seasons with St George Illawarra Dragons before joining the Panthers in 2016. He joins Tonga ace Konrad Hurrell as the club’s second marquee signing for next year.
The 29-year-old has won an NRL Premiership and World Club Challenge with the Dragons and was part of the New South Wales Origin squad between 2011 and 2015.
On joining Leeds, Merrin said: “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.”
Rhinos’ director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield, commented: “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 an exciting new era.”
Merrin becomes Leeds’ fifth new signing for 2019, joining Tui Lolohea, Callum McLelland, Dom Crosby and Hurrell.