Kallum Watkins has been robbed of his farewell appearance at Leeds after an administrative mix up.
The Rhinos have confirmed their captain’s decade of service has been cut prematurely after the NRL refused to grant him dispensation after confusion over a registration deadline ahead of his move to Gold Coast Titans.
The Rhinos claim they had been informed Watkins needed to be registered as a Titans player by midnight on 30th June. The Rhinos play on that day against Catalans, which was due to be Watkins’ farewell appearance.
However, Watkins needs to be registered by midnight in Sydney, which is 3 PM in the UK, the kick-off time of their pivotal game with Catalans.
It means Watkins’ time with the Rhinos is officially over, and he has now travelled to Australia with his family.
As a result, the Rhinos have named Trent Merrin as the club’s new captain.
“It is disappointing for Kallum that he does not get to say goodbye at Emerald Headingley after his outstanding service for the club,” interim coach Richard Agar said.
“The circumstances are beyond our control unfortunately. He has said his goodbyes to the players and coaches and leaves with our very best wishes.”
On Merrin’s appointment, Agar added: “Trent was a natural choice as captain. He has had a big influence on our squad in my time as coach and sets high standards for himself. In recent weeks, as we have looked to rebuild our game, he has been a key part of that. Games against Catalans are always tough, especially in the position we find ourselves in, however Trent is one of those guys you would want beside you in the trenches and I know he will lead by example.”