Leed’s Rhino’s have continued to rebuild their squad ahead of the 2020 season with another addition, this time in the form of experienced NRL forward Matt Prior (pictured). The 32 year old Cronulla Sharks player comes with over 250 NRL first grade games under his belt along with having represented New South Wales at State of Origin Level.
The deal comes after the Rhino’s had agreed to release former Australian International Trent Merrin from the reminder of his contract on compassionate grounds so he could return down under with his family. He has since re-joined former club St George Illawarra with immediate effect.
30 year old Merrin had seen just one season of his four year deal at Headingly in which he struggled to show the form expected of an Australian International scoring just 4 tries in his 27 appearances last year.
Speaking about his exit from the club Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield said;
“We fully understand Trent's reasons for returning home, he leaves with our best wishes for him and [wife] Jess and their new family.”
However, the Rhino’s management were quick to sort the replacement and news quickly spread of the Prior signing which is still subject to a medical although both parties are confident that everything will be rubber stamped in the next few days.
Speaking about their replacement Sinfield quickly said;
“We are delighted to have secured a player of Matt’s undeniable experience on a two-year contract.
“He is someone we have looked at for a while and he will be an uncompromising addition to our squad. He has been part of two NRL Grand Final winning sides and was part of the New South Wales State of Origin squad in 2018.
“Having spoken to him over recent weeks, I know how much he is looking forward to joining the club and the new challenge of playing in the Super League.
While when questioned about the move Prior told the clubs website;
“I nearly signed for the Rhinos a couple of years ago but we didn't get the deal done so this is something I have always had in my mind.
“Hopefully I can play my part in lifting the clubs fortunes and get us back to challenging for silverware again.
The addition of Prior comes just days after the club announced they had secured the signiture of England Knights hooker Kruise Leeming from west Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Giants for an undisclosed fee that see’s Academy International Owen Trout moving in the opposite direction.