Mitchell Pearce admits he feels sorry for incumbent NSW halfback Nathan Cleary and believes the Penrith No. 7 should retain his State of Origin jersey.
Trent Merrin’s time at Penrith could be over with the NRL club reportedly set to release him to English Super League club Leeds on a four-year deal.
Trent Merrin’s time at Penrith appears over after just three seasons with the former NSW State of Origin forward reportedly set to sign with English Super League club Leeds.
Merrin, who played 13 games for NSW between 2011 and 2015, still has two years left to run on his contract at the Panthers but has long been linked with the Rhinos.
That move could be confirmed as soon as Thursday night according to News Corp Australia, with Merrin having agreed to a new four-year deal with the English powerhouse.
Originally pursued and signed by the club during Ivan Cleary’s first stint in charge at the Panthers, he will become the first player to exit under the returning coach if he does leave.
However, he would join a long list of mid-contract departures from the club in the past 18 months, including Matt Moylan, Bryce Cartwright, Tyrone Peachey and Leilani Latu.
Merrin was one of the club’s biggest-name arrivals in 2016, but his numbers were down in 2018 as his playing minutes were reduced and he spent time starting in the front row.
The news comes after Panthers supremo Phil Gould last week claimed Merrin would remain at the Panthers in 2019, despite interest from elsewhere.
However new Leeds coach David Furner had also last week confirmed his interest in the former Kangaroos forward.
“There is interest on both sides,” Furner said.
“No contract has been signed and he’s still with Penrith at the moment but there have been talks.
“We’ve got another quota spot and I’m looking at bringing in world class players in if we can.”