Backflip: Merrin follows new Leeds
Trent Merrin has cut ties with Penrith effective immediately and accepted a four-year deal with Super League outfit Leeds.
The former Test forward has opted to leave the club following a meeting with Penrith general manager Phil Gould on Thursday, with the Rhinos announcing his signing just hours later.
The 29-year-old will join up with former Souths assistant coach David Furner at Leeds.
"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," Merrin said.
"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."
The move comes days after new Panthers coach Ivan Cleary backed Merrin to stay at the foot of the mountains.
"It's Trent's decision on whether he stayed or he didn't,'' Cleary said on Monday.
"It looked like a pretty good opportunity, but I'm happy he's still here.
"He provides a lot of experience and from all my discussions with him recently, he's really motivated which is what you want.
"From his own admission, he feels like he can play better which is fantastic for us.
"A fit and firing Trent Merrin is going to be a huge advantage.''
Gould also took to Twitter last week to declare Merrin would see out his current contract.
Furner has signed Tuimoala Lolohea and Konrad Hurrell and was counting on Merrin to bolster his pack.
Merrin informed teammates on Thursday morning and is expected to depart for the UK next week.
Leeds CEO Gary Hetherington said: "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."