Leeds Rhinos and England star Kallum Watkins to join Gold Coast Titans
Last Updated: 15/06/19 10:53am
Leeds Rhinos and England star Kallum Watkins has agreed to join NRL side Gold Coast Titans from July 1.
Leeds announced at the start of June that the 28-year-old would be moving on at the end of the season but, after he received an offer to join the growing contingent of English-born players in the NRL, he will leave sooner than planned.
Watkins captained Leeds in their 23-14 loss to Wigan on Friday and both he and the club say he will continue to play up until his move, meaning his final appearances will come against St Helens and Catalans.
He had been linked with a move to Super League rivals Warrington but had admitted he would find it hard to play against Leeds, with whom he has won six league titles.
"I am excited to be going to the Titans and the new challenge for me and my family," Watkins said.
"It has all happened so quickly, but my focus for now is helping the Rhinos climb the table. I will be doing my best, as I always do, before I leave."
Watkins, who succeeded Danny Maguire as Rhinos captain at the start of the 2018 season, has made 266 appearances for the club since making his debut in 2008, scoring 101 tries.
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 his departure then gives us flexibility within the salary cap this season to strengthen our squad if the right player becomes available."