Trent Merrin joins the Rhinos after being ousted from the Panthers.
Trent Merrin joins the Rhinos after being ousted from the Panthers.

Merrin, Hurrell set to make UK debuts

New Leeds coach Dave Furner will unleash the Rhinos' marquee signings against Castleford on Sunday.

Leeds fans will get their first glimpse of former Kangaroos and NSW prop Trent Merrin and former Warriors and Gold Coast centre Konrad Hurrell in the Kallum Watkins testimonial match at Headingley, the first and last serious hit-out before the new Super League season kicks off a fortnight later.

The Rhinos' other major close-season recruit, Tongan stand-off Tui Lolohea played in the Boxing Day friendly against Wakefield and Furner is keen to test the strength of his new-look squad.

"We're going to pick a pretty strong side," Furner said at the club's pre-season media day. "It's probably our last hit-out.

"Castleford have been such a successful team under Daryl (Powell) and it will be a good gauge, I'm eager to see where this team is at on the back of last year."

Leeds have taken advantage of the salary-cap dispensation to bring in marquee players for the first time and Furner is hoping for big things from Hurrell and Merrin.

Konrad Hurrell will hope to bring some spark to the Rhinos after ending his NRL career.
Konrad Hurrell will hope to bring some spark to the Rhinos after ending his NRL career.

"The first thing for both is just to fit into the squad," Furner said. "I have no doubt they will make the squad a lot stronger.

"I want them to play their natural game. Trent is quite good with the play but he's also a powerful runner.

"If Konnie plays the way I know he can and the way he wants to play, I think the crowd will warm to him pretty quickly.

"And the more the crowd roar, the better he'll play."