Merrin has left Penrith to join Leeds Rhinos on a marquee deal.

The move came was a surprise to many with the forward 29 and an Australian Test player just one year ago.

Merrin explains that veteran coach Bennett, who coached him at St George Illawarra, helped him decide.

"I just talked to Wayne as a mate," he told The Sun. "I won a competition under him and I’ve learned everything I have in the game from Wayne.

"To touch base with him and really get his understanding of everything over here really helped my decision to come over here.

“He’s got nothing but wraps for the Super League – he loves it and he’s got nothing but good words to say about it and it was comforting to get his perspective on things.

"It was always a goal of mine to come over here and play in the Super League."

He added: "I’ve done pretty well back home and ticked a few boxes of things I dreamed of when I was a kid.

"To come over here and try and tick a few more is something I’m very passionate about. I’m very excited about trying to get the job done, especially with this group of men.

"There’s a good vibe here having walked into this club and it’s something I want to grow with."