Leeds centre Kallum Watkins is looking forward to a “high intensity” battle with West Yorkshire rivals Castleford Tigers on Thursday night, and believes how the Rhinos cope with star winger Justin Carney will have a big influence on the result.
The England centre, 23, says he is also excited to be coming up against opposite number Michael Shenton, who has enjoyed a stunning start to the season and his highly fancied to line up alongside Watkins in the national squad later this year.
“I think he has been great, he has had a great season,” Watkins told the Yorkshire Post.
“He has got a big fella outside him in Justin Carney, so he has got plenty of options there to give him the ball, but he is looking good and he’s back to where he was before.
“He [Carney] is a certain challenge you have got to take care of. He is going to get a lot of ball in his hands and he is really destructive and really powerful as a runner.
“We have got to do a really good job on him. He is having a great season, as he did last year. They have shown faith in him and given him a new deal, which is good for him.
“He seems to be enjoying it at Cas, so we are looking forward to the challenge. We have got to be aware of him, we know he is going to make some yards and he might make some breaks, but we are there as a defensive team to cover that.
“We have got to be really strong with him and the whole of their team, because they are going really well.
“The team is gelling well and [coach] Daryl Powell is doing a great job there. They are bonding and getting some really good results. It is a derby, it will be a high-intensity game. It will be a packed ground and they will be up for it.
“We have got to go with our A game and try and match them and hopefully we can do. There’s a good rivalry with Cas, we are looking forward to going there on Thursday and it should be a great night.”