Leeds Rhinos captain Trent Merrin set for possible NRL return - updated

Leeds Rhinos have allowed captain Trent Merrin to speak to Australian clubs about returning to the NRL and are monitoring possible replacements.

Sunday, 29th September 2019, 7:34 pm

Merrin joined Rhinos from Penrith Panthers at the end of the 2018 season and took over as captain from Kallum Watkins in May.

He is happy at Leeds, but a family situation could prompt his return home.

The former Test forward was granted compassionate leave midway through the season following a family tragedy.

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Rhinos coach Richard Agar is understood to have spoken to Merrin on a recent trip to Australia.

Leeds don't want to lose Merrin, but are sympathetic to his situation and will not stand in his way if he can find a club Down Under.

No deal has yet been done and there is still a chance Merrin could be at Leeds next season.

If he does leave, that would open a space on Rhinos' overseas quota and also their salary cap.

Rhinos are understood to have put a time limit on Merrin's decision and want the situation resolved before the start of pre-season.

If Merrin remains in Australia - which would mean taking a cut in pay - one possible target is Cronulla Sharks forward Matt Prior, a two-time NRL Grand Final winner.