Ex-Leeds Rhinos skipper Kallum Watkins signs for Salford Red Devils
Former Leeds Rhinos captain Kallum Watkins has signed a three-year contract with his boyhood club Salford Red Devils.
Watkins, 29, scored 110 tries and 85 goals in 222 Super League appearances for Rhinos from 2008-2019 before leaving last June to join Gold Coast Titans.
He played eight times in the NRL, but was released in April on compassionate grounds.
Watkins then signed for Toronto Wolfpack, but became a free agent when they withdrew from the 2020 Super League competition and left without playing a game for the Canadian side.
The England centre, who was a three-time Grand Final winner with Leeds, said: “It’s great to be part of the team and representing Salford will be an honour for me.
“I know it’s been a long time coming in a sense, but I grew up wanting to play rugby league and Salford was key to my development.
“The club means a great deal to me. If I hadn’t had those opportunities to support the club and be a ball boy growing up, you don’t know what would have happened.
“I might not be in the position I am, without having those influences.”
He added: “My family are really excited and really proud.
“We’ve talked about how good it would be to play for Salford, but also wanting to achieve something big with the club.”
Salford coach Ian Watson said: “We are extremely lucky to have been in a position to acquire a player of Kallum’s quality and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him.
“Building a team through players who are competitive and work hard has been really successful for us, but to get a player with both of those traits and world class ability is how we will grow into a team that challenges every year.
“Kallum has that and he recognises our progress as a team and a club, in recruiting other players with these three traits over the last few years.
“Being a local lad, Kallum will be embraced by the Salford supporters and I’m sure over the next few years he will prove to be one of the club’s best signings and it will show a real intent, not only for the remainder of this year, but in 2021, where we should have a phenomenal back line.”
Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “This is a first class signing for Salford Red Devils.
“Kallum’s career speaks for itself and I’m delighted to have brought in a player of his quality to the club.
“He played locally in his early years and it is fitting he will now wear the Salford shirt as a world-renowned player.
“We have pursued Kallum for some weeks now and after speaking with our coaches and the backroom team, they were so excited at the opportunity of bringing him to the club and are totally focused on getting Kallum back to his best form, representing Salford Red Devils on the pitch in the Betfred Super League.
“I would like to thank Kallum and his agent for working with me on the deal that now allows him to play in this season’s competitions and also for committing to the club for the next coming three years.”
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