LEEDS RHINOS captain Kallum Watkins has signed for NRL club Gold Coast Titans and will join them on July 1.
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.Kevin Sinfield
Watkins told Rhinos’ players after last night’s 23-14 defeat against Wigan Warriors at Emerald Headingley.
His final game for Leeds will be the home clash with Catalans Dragons on Sunday, June 30.
Rhinos had already confirmed the England centre would leave the club at the end of the current season, but have agreed to release him early after Titans offered a long-term contract.
Watkins said: “I am excited to be going to the Titans and the new challenge for me and my family. It has all happened so quickly, but my focus for now is on helping the Rhinos climb the table.”
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington added: “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 gives us flexibility within the salary cap this season to strengthen our squad if the right player becomes available.”
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.”