Leeds Rhinos: Delaney: Fans have still to see the best of ‘freakish’ centre Watkins

Leeds Rhinos' Brett Delaney.
Leeds Rhinos' Brett Delaney.
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Australian forward Brett Delaney has described his Leeds Rhinos team-mate Kallum Watkins, right, as a “freak”.

Watkins, 22, has started the season in explosive form and Delaney feels the England centre is set to have a massive year.

“Kal is a freak,” said Delaney, who wore the No 3 jersey before Watkins took it over in 2012.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him as yet. He has got to string some games together and he will get better. He is unbelievable, his footwork and what he can do with the ball.

“It is very pleasing playing inside him, to be able to watch him. He has been a bit unlucky early on in his career with injuries, but he is still only young.

“He is a world-class centre, but he has still got a lot of improvement in his game and the sky is the limit for him.”

Watkins’ right-side partnership with winger Tom Briscoe – who joined Rhinos in the off-season from Hull – is already shaping up to be one of the best combinations in the British game.

Delaney, right, said: “Brisc is only new to the side and he is still learning, but he showed on Friday he can read a game well and he is a world-class winger – he will only get better.”

The 18-12 win over Warrington three days ago was Rhinos’ second victory in six days at the start of their First Utility Super League campaign.

Delaney said: “We spoke about getting a roll on early in the year. We went out on Friday and it was a tough game, but we got the points in the end and that was pleasing.

“We had a lot of defence to do on our own goal line, we had a few sets on the bounce. In the first half they scored off a kick and then with a few minutes to go they scored a soft try, but other than that, we worked hard and I think our defence was good. We can take a positive out of that into Friday’s game at Catalan.

“They are a big side and it will be a good test for us forwards again. We have got to build on the last few performances and take that over there with us.”

Leeds have run in 10 tries in their opening two games, all of them scored by backs. Briscoe leads the way with four, Zak Hardaker has scored three and Joel Moon, right, Watkins and Danny McGuire have got the others.

Coach Brian McDermott has been quick to point out that while the try-scoring backs are grabbing the headlines, they can only flourish if the pack create space for them and ensure they see plenty of the ball, in a good position on the field.

Delaney said: “If the backs don’t get free-flowing ball, the forwards aren’t doing their job.

“As a pack we are working hard and we know that in any game if the forwards don’t go forward, the backs can’t play.”

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