Why Trent Merrin and James Maloney made Super League moves despite marquee money in NRL as Leeds Rhinos made major coup

In 2019, Trent Merrin was a marquee signing at Leeds Rhinos.

He was a major coup for the Rhinos after they had struggled in 2018. He was an Australian international and State of Origin representative and brought sheer quality to the club.

Though it took him some time to get settled he soon became one of the best players at the struggling Rhinos and even became captain when Kallum Watkins left mid season.

However, Merrin didn’t stay at the club beyond 2019 and was replaced by Matt Prior in 2020.

Speaking of 2020, that year saw Catalans Dragons make a major signing themselves as they brought in Merrin’s former teammate James Maloney from Penrith Panthers.

A multi-time NRL winner, a State of Origin winner and an Australian international, Maloney was also a major coup and would help the Dragons to fourth in 2020, the League Leaders’ Shield in 2021 and an inaugural Grand Final.

These moves were made all the more impressive by the fact both players were said to be on marquee money before they left but it has been revealed by the Daily Telegraph why they left.

This was down to Phil Gould who is notorious for making big changes to squads and moving on star players and both were victims of this.

He is now set to do the same at Canterbury Bulldogs having told Corey Allan he can leave prompting a move to Sydney Roosters for the former Super League target.

Expect more to follow and former Hull FC target Kyle Flanagan and ex-St Helens star Luke Thompson could even be amongst them.

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