Trent Merrin has handed St George Illawarra a $350,000 windfall to spend on players in coming weeks.

Trent Merrin has handed St George Illawarra a $350,000 windfall to spend on players in coming weeks.

Merrin, 31, stunned the Dragons by announcing he was retiring immediately yesterday, declaring the pace of the game had become too much for him.

But he further surprised the club by refusing to take any “golden handshake” in a move that has won him universal praise in the game.

More than that, it gives the Dragons an extra $350,000 to play with – the approximate amount Merrin is giving up by retiring after just six rounds of the season.

The club is now on the lookout for players thinking about a change of scenery, with big forwards their first priority.

There are several likely candidates running around in the NSW and Queensland Cup and the Dragons are expected to keep a close eye on both competitions this weekend.

The Dragons have been a surprise packet in the early rounds, winning four straight games before last weekend’s upset loss to the Warriors.

“I’m very happy to be able to finish my career on my own terms,” Merrin said yesterday.

“This was a decision where I had to be true to myself. I have outgrown the game and the game has outgrown me, although my appreciation for rugby league will never die.”

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