Leeds Rhinos and England star Kallum Watkins has agreed to join NRL side Gold Coast Titans from 1st July 2019.
The Rhinos had already confirmed that the centre would leave the club at the end of the current season but the opportunity to join the Titans on a long term contract has resulted in the club agreeing to release Watkins to move to Australia at the end of the month.
Watkins captained the Rhinos tonight in their Betfred Super League clash with Wigan Warriors at Emerald Headingley.
Commenting on the announcement Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said, “When we announced Kallum would be leaving at the end of the season, given his long and outstanding service to the club, it was agreed that if a long term opportunity arose we would release him sooner and is departure then gives us flexibility within the salary cap this season to strengthen our squad if the right player becomes available.”
Watkins commented, “I am excited to be going to the Titans and the new challenge for me and my family. It has all happened so quickly but my focus for now is on helping the Rhinos climb the table. I have had so much great support from our fans, sponsors players and staff and I will be doing my best, as I always do, before I leave.”
Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield praised Watkins contribution to the club, he added, “Kallum has been a tremendous servant to the club. Having come through as a teenager, it has been a pleasure to see him develop into a world class player for club and country. Whilst we are disappointed to be losing him, he will leave with our best wishes and thanks. I am sure over the remaining games he will play his part so that he leaves us in the best possible manner. We are working hard behind the scenes to strengthen the squad for this season and the future and that work continues.”