LEEDS RHINOS captain Kallum Watkins has been granted a testimonial by the Rugby Football League.
It will begin on July 1 and events already planned include a benefit match early next year.
That could see Watkins make his return from the season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered during last month’s Magic Weekend defeat by Castleford Tigers.
Watkins, 27, made his Rhinos debut as a 16-year-old in 2008 and has scored 130 tries and 101 goals in 232 appearances for the club, winning three Grand Finals, the Challenge Cup and league leaders’ shield twice each, and the World Club Challenge in 2012.
He said: “I would like to thank the RFL for granting this testimonial and especially Gary Hetherington, Paul Caddick and all the directors of Leeds Rhinos who have supported me throughout my career
“Obviously at present it is pretty tough being on the sidelines when I want to be out there leading the boys.
“When you are unable to do the job you love through injury it makes you appreciate the good times and will drive me on to get back fitter and stronger than ever.
“I am honoured to be granted a testimonial and follow in the footsteps of legendary former team-mates who have achieved the same accolade. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first decade at the club and look forward to making more happy memories in the future.”
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “On behalf of everyone at the Rhinos, I would like to congratulate Kallum on being granted his testimonial. He has been an outstanding servant for Leeds Rhinos and England throughout his career and I am sure Rhinos fans will support the many events his testimonial committee have planned.”
Those are set to include a legends game in August and the launch of a naked calendar the following month.
There will be a ‘boating and barbecue’ evening in Knaresborough on Tuesday, September 11 and fans can email firstname.lastname@example.org now to register their interest.
Watkins’ testimonial Christmas dinner will take place on Wednesday, December 12. Tickets cost £55 each and can be booked by calling 0113 2033222.
As well as the pre-season game, there will also be a golf day next May and a finale dinner in June, 2019