Merrin granted release by Panthers

Penrith Panthers can confirm Trent Merrin will be granted an immediate release from his contract to take up a lucrative four-year deal with Leeds Rhinos in 2019.

The release will follow the completion of formalities including Merrin's visa application and successful registration of his Leeds contract.

The 29-year-old forward, who joined Panthers in 2016, played 72 NRL games and scored eight tries in his time at the club.

Off the field, Merrin was committed to engaging with Panthers fans, supporting community initiatives and promoting his #MoveOutOfYourHead campaign for mental health.

He won the prestigious Merv Cartwright Medal as the club's player of the year in 2016, and was named Club Person of the Year in 2017.

"Trent Merrin has given our club three years of outstanding service, both on and off the field," Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.

"Panthers played finals football in each of the three seasons he spent at the club.

"Apart from the tremendous football he played, Trent has been instrumental in mentoring the careers of a number of our young players.

"We wish him well with his new challenge in the English Super League. Leeds has secured itself a very good man."