Nathan Merritt scored 154 NRL tries, represented NSW and in 2012 was named All Stars man-of-the-match.
But this year, two full seasons since retiring from the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the winger will enjoy a change of scenery after signing with Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League club the Shortland Devils.
“It will be a change of scenery and something different for me,” Merritt, who was at No.2 Sportsground on Thursday playing for the Redfern All Blacks in the Awabakal Interstate Challenge, said.
“I’ll be out of my comfort zone and the unexpected will be the best thing about it.”
The 33-year-old joins Shortland, who lost last year’s A-grade grand final, through Devils coach Charlie Faulkner.
The pair have recently toured the United Kingdom together with the Newcastle Yowies and Faulkner’s brother manages Merritt.
“It’s very exciting for us,” Faulkner said. “He brings quite a lot to a young side, but mainly that calmness and experience. Listening to him talk about football on those UK tours was just amazing.”
Merritt has spent the last two seasons playing for Redfern in the South Sydney juniors competition and in 2016 claimed his seventh NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout title.
In 2014 he attended the same statewide tournament, which was being held in the Hunter, while the Rabbitohs clinched their first NRL crown in 43 years.
Elsewhere in Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League, which kicks off April 1, retired Newcastle Knights prop Kade Snowden will coach the South Belmont Rabbitohs.