Merrin returns to the Dragons

Veteran forward Trent Merrin will return to the St George Illawarra Dragons ahead of the 2020 Telstra Premiership season.

Merrin has signed a two-year deal and will remain at the club until at least the end of 2021.

Merrin debuted for the Red V in 2009 and spent seven seasons with the club where he amassed 133 NRL games, including the club's 2010 grand final victory against the Sydney Roosters.

The Shellharbour Sharks junior spent a further three seasons at the Penrith Panthers before venturing abroad last year to play for English Super League outfit Leeds Rhinos.

The now 30-year-old has played 13 Origins for New South Wales and seven Tests for Australia across his 11-year first grade career.

Director of Rugby League Pathways and List Management Ian Millward confirmed Merrin would take Luciano Leilua's vacated spot in the Dragons' Top 30.

Leilua recently requested and has today been granted a release from the final year of his contract. 

"Trent could've jumped like a kangaroo all the way back to Australia he's that excited to come back to the Dragons," Millward said.

"Trent has indicated to the club several times over the past 12 months that he'd love to come home; an opportunity for this has since come up after the club granted Luciano his requested release.

"Luciano indicated he wouldn't be renewing his contract with the Dragons beyond the 2020 season. As a result we'll be able to do a multiple things as far as overall recruitment is concerned with Luciano's money. 

"Trent brings plenty of experience to the Dragons' forward pack and is someone who is really passionate and can't wait to put the Red V back on."

Merrin's signature follows news of Issac Luke's arrival at the Dragons in another boon of experience for the Red V.

"We expect everyone to step up and improve vastly on their performances from last year," Millward said.

"Trent will be a player who will hit the ground running straight away. He's a confident player who will be very good around the group as far as his demeanour is concerned.

"Along with Issac (Luke), he'll bring a wealth of experience. Both players have played at the highest level and played in premiership-winning seasons."