BY SCOTT DILLON
Trent Merrin could be back in the National Rugby League within a matter of weeks after his English club Leeds confirmed that they had agreed to allow the former Australian forward to negotiate with NRL sides.
His release would be on compassionate grounds as Merrin is just one year into a four-year contract at the Rhinos.
But the Rhinos have set a deadline which could still see Merrin staying at Headingley for the 2020 season.
“There’s a strong part of him that wants to come back [in England]. But sometimes there are some overriding family situations that are far more important than rugby league,” Leeds coach Richard Agar said.
“I must emphasise the strong relationship that we’ve got with Trent. Everyone is aware that midway through the season, he had to go back home for a personal issue – a tragedy if you like.
“That’s created a need for him to be a bit closer to home at times.
“Since I came in as coach and he became captain, we’ve built up a terrific relationship. His performances on-field were outstanding but with the family issues he’s got, we’ve given him the opportunity to have a look and see if he can source a deal that suits him to be a bit closer to home.
“We’ve put a timescale on that, and told him that if he sources a deal we need to be across it. But there is a line in the sand where we both agree that once he’s had a look, if it’s not right then he will come back.
“If something happens and he needs to stay at home, he will do so with our full support. At no point are there any sinister, underlying motives to this: we totally understand his situation.”
Merrin has been linked to his former club St George Illawarra where he won a premiership in 2010.