Merrin considers Dragons comeback
St George Illawarra premiership winner Trent Merrin has reached out to the club, putting his hand up as a potential shock replacement for the suspended Jack de Belin.
It is believed Merrin made contact with Dragons officials recently to sound out if there was any interest in the Illawarra junior making a return to the club this year. It is understood St George Illawarra officials have not ruled out making a play for the 29-year-old who is having an unhappy time in the English Super League.
Merrin is just months into a four year deal at Leeds having been granted an early release from the Panthers at the end of last season. But Merrin has not lived up to his marquee billing at the club, with Leeds camped at the bottom of the Super League ladder with just one win from their opening seven matches.
The Dragons are also considering Melbourne Storm back-rower Joe Stimson as they look to bolster their fragile forward pack in the wake of de Belin's suspension and Tyson Frizell's injury.
St George Illawarra will apply for a salary cap exemption this week as part of the NRL's new no-fault stand-down policy which led to de Belin's unavailability. Manly were granted a $98,000 salary cap relief by the NRL last week after Dylan Walker was stood down under the NRL's revamped player behaviour policy.
St George Illawarra are unclear how much they can spend until the NRL approve their proposal. While the NRL has offered up the dispensation, clubs still need to make the extra payments to the player.
Merrin was part of St George Illawarra's 2010 premiership in just his first full season in the top grade. He played five more seasons at the club where he rose to become a NSW and Australian player before falling out with the club's management.
Merrin joined Penrith in 2016, spending three seasons at the Panthers before linking up with Leeds this year.