Leeds Rhinos: Watkins is confident of return at Wigan

Kallum Watkins celebrates his try with Tom Briscoe and Danny McGuire.
Kallum Watkins celebrates his try with Tom Briscoe and Danny McGuire.
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ENGLAND CENTRE – and surprise marksman – Kallum Watkins is confident he will be available for Leeds Rhinos’ final game of the regular season after being knocked out in the win at Salford Red Devils three days ago.

Watkins is set to miss Friday’s visit of Hull under the Rugby Football League’s concussion rules, but does not expect to be out of action any longer.

He needed treatment on the field following a high tackle by Junior Sa’u, who was sin-binned, but was able to walk off and felt “all right” after the game, despite a headache.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said.

“I can’t remember pretty much any of what happened, I just remember getting the ball and that was it really, but the main thing is I am okay – and we got a big result and a great win.”

The short turnaround to this week’s game means Watkins will miss out, but he insisted: “That doesn’t really matter, the main thing was us getting the win.

“That was really important. I am really chuffed for the boys and really proud of them.”

Watkins was influential for Rhinos before being hurt, scoring a try, setting one up for winger Tom Briscoe and kicking three goals.

He is effectively Rhinos’ fourth choice kicker behind Liam Sutcliffe, Jordan Lilley and Ashton Golding, but said he’s happy to take the role on when required.

He said: “It’s just practice and relaxing as well and concentrating on striking the ball well.

“I struck the ball quite well and I was unlucky with the one that hit the post.

“I got the opportunity with Sutty out and Jordan on the bench and it’s one of those things where you’ve got to take advantage of it.

“When the opportunity came this week, knowing I’d probably be kicking, I grabbed it with both hands.

“I got practicing as much as I can, just working on striking the ball.

“If you do that it’s more likely to go over and it’s important to be relaxed and laid back as well.

“You can’t be too serious about it, just enjoy it.”

Rhinos ran in nine tries and Watkins was happy with his own performance before the injury as well as Leeds’ attacking effort as a team.

“I was pretty happy, I got hold of the ball quite a bit,” he said.

“They were covering well in D [defence], but when we broke them up we got some opportunities. It is looking good in terms of our attack and it was a really important win for us.

“Salford are a good side, they are in the top-four – which is thoroughly deserved – and they’ve got some quality as a team.

“They scored some nice tries in the second half when they were trying to get themselves back in the game so we’ve got to give them a bit of credit, but for us how well we performed – especially from the start – was a big thing.”

Meanwhile, Sa’u has been charged with a grade B high tackle on Watkins. He has the option of submitting an early guilty plea which would result in a one-game ban, ruling him out of Friday’s trip to Castleford Tigers.

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