Key duo sign new deals as Salford Red Devils plan exciting ride

SALFORD RED DEVILS coach Paul Rowley watched skipper Kallum Watkins and speedster Joe Burgess join the growing list of players committing to the club long term and said: “I want them to be part of some more special moments.”

Both second rower or centre Watkins, who represented England at the World Cup and winger Burgess, who played internationally earlier in his career, have signed contract extensions to 2025.

They follow star halfback and reigning Man of Steel Brodie Croft (2030), England hooker Andy Ackers (2026), and Scotland fullback Ryan Brierley, Samoa centre Tim Lafai and props Jack Ormondroyd and Tyler Dupree (all 2025) in agreeing to stay.

Watkins, 31, enjoyed six Grand Final wins with Leeds before a short stint in the NRL with Gold Coast Titans was ended for personal reasons.

He joined Salford in 2020 after a planned move to Toronto fell through after the Wolfpack withdrew from Super League.

Watkins played for Salford in the 2020 Challenge Cup final and helped them reach last year’s Super League play-offs semi-finals.

“We have a great group,” he said.

“And I love the support from the fans. I want to help bring success and create even more memories.”

Former Wigan player Burgess, 28, had spells at both Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL. He ended a second stint at Wigan to join Salford ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Burgess and Lafai – who scored six tries during the World Cup, including two in the semi-final victory over England, and featured in the final defeat by Australia – formed a potent left-edge partnership for Salford last season.

Burgess scored 16 tries in 20 games, including a hat-trick in the 30-14 home win over Castleford in May, while Watkins chalked up twelve in 20.

“Kallum is a wonderful example of what an elite athlete should be on and off the field,” said Rowley.

“He epitomises everything our club is about, and honesty, hard work and selflessness are the foundations to everything he does.

“And it’s fantastic news that Budgie (Burgess) is staying with our group.”

“He is an experienced competitor who knows what winning looks and feels like.

“Along with Kallum, his fingerprints are on many of our special moments – and the group and I look forward to them being a part of many more.”