Family comes first, insists Furner, as Leeds pledges full support to Trent Merrin

Leeds coach Dave Furner insists that rugby is a secondary issue to personal problems, after he and the Rhinos have said they will do everything possible to support Trent Merrin.

Merrin is back in Australia on compassionate grounds following a family bereavement, and while Furner revealed at his weekly press conference that there is a flight booked for him to come back to England at the start of next week, nothing has as yet been finalised.

In the eyes of Furner, Merrin’s personal situation must take precedence over his current career commitment with thee Rhinos, following a difficult period for Merrin and his family.

Furner said: “I spoke to him, and there is a flight booked for him this coming Monday. But, having remained in contact with him and his partner I know that is far from ideal for them. We get caught up with results, I know, but it is important his family comes first. They’ve got to organise a few things, but he is staying in touch with me. It’s true that is not ideal but we are in constant dialogue.”

When asked if Merrin will return in time for their clash with Huddersfield on Good Friday next week, Furner added: “It’s more about the family first. I will worry about the football over this side.  I understand that Trent and Jess need as much support around them as possible and the club, and players are supporting them. The lads have been texting and speaking with Trent, making sure he is okay.”

Furner also confirmed that Ashton Golding will be coming `in from the cold’ this weekend, for the match against Workington in the Challenge Cup.

“Ashton has been in big games before,” said Furner. “He’s been working on his craft at fullback while at Featherstone and Ryan Carr says he’s been doing a very good job there. It’s about our ability to give players like him an opportunity. We’re a squad, not a team, so when there are opportunities to bring in other players, I don’t mind handing them out.”