Merrin admits shock at Penrith axing
Trent Merrin admits he was shocked at being pushed out of the door at Penrith and vowed to show NRL clubs what they are missing with Leeds in the Super League.
The NSW and Kangaroos forward was released from the final two years of his contract with the Panthers in November due to salary cap pressures.
He was forced to swap a summer pre-season in Sydney for a freezing cold one in the Yorkshire winter after no NRL club showed any interest in signing a player who was a Blues regular between 2011 and 2015 and part of Mal Meninga's Kangaroos squad less than two years ago.
The 29-year-old got off to a losing start with his new club on Saturday when the Rhinos went down 26-6 to Warrington - who are coached by his former St George Illawarra boss Steve Price - in the season opener.
Despite that defeat Merrin said he and his partner Jessica are relishing the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and have been taken aback at the size and expectation of Leeds Rhinos.
"I had no idea how big the club is," Merrin told AAP.
"I heard great things about it, but just coming into the place and seeing how passionate the fans and the players are it's something special."
Merrin consulted Trent Barrett and former St George Illawarra teammate Michael Weyman before joining former Canberra coach David Furner at Headingley.
Barrett and Weyman both enjoyed Super League spells at Wigan and Hull KR and advised him it was the perfect place to rejuvenate his career.
"The move come about a bit sooner than I expected, but rugby league is a tricky game," he said.
"Every NRL team's roster and cap had been sealed up so it was complete shock to the system.
"But looking back on it now, I am probably glad in a way that it happened.
"There is plenty of footy left in me at the age and the stage of my career that I am at and I am desperate to prove I can still play at a high level.
"Things happen for a reason. Coming here, getting away from what I have known for my whole life. It's a big test to try and make the uncomfortable comfortable.
"It was a scary move for me but once we arrived I have made sure that it is all business."
At a time where the behaviour of NRL players has been given more scrutiny and publicity than ever, Merrin said being away from intense spotlight of rugby league in Sydney is something he is looking forward to.
"It can be a bit crazy back home," Merrin said.
"Being over here it does give you a chance to breathe, get away from hype and the media scrutiny and the enjoy the simple things.
"I am really excited about the journey ahead."