Kallum Watkins to depart for Gold Coast and the NRL next month after early Leeds release

Kallum Watkins has agreed to join NRL side Gold Coast Titans from the beginning of next month after securing an early release from his deal with Leeds Rhinos.

The Rhinos announced last week that Watkins would leave the club at the end of this season, after both parties agreed to end Watkins’ contract two years early, after spending his entire career with the club since debuting with the club in 2008 at the age of just 16.

He has won every domestic honour with the club – but now, Watkins has agreed a long-term deal with the Titans beginning on July 1st: meaning he has just two Leeds games remaining before beginning a new chapter in the NRL with Gold Coast. His final game with the Rhinos will be their home clash against Catalans on Sunday June 30th.

“I am excited to be going to the Titans and the new challenge for me and my family,” he said. “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 added: “Kallum has been a tremendous servant to the club. Having come through as a teenager, it has been a pleasure to see him to 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 next two 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.”

Watkins becomes the tenth Englishman to move to the NRL, following the three Burgess brothers at South Sydney, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead at Canberra, James Graham and Gareth Widdop at St George, and Watkins’ long-time team-mate Ryan Hall at Sydney Roosters.