Peter Smith: Why Kallum Watkins is ideal choice for Leeds Rhinos’ captaincy

WINNER: Leeds Rhinos' Kallum Watkins celebrates scoring his side's second try ion last year's Grand Final at Old Trafford against Castleford Tigers. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA
WINNER: Leeds Rhinos' Kallum Watkins celebrates scoring his side's second try ion last year's Grand Final at Old Trafford against Castleford Tigers. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA
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KALLUM WATKINS’ appointment as Leeds Rhinos’ captain was a surprise to some fans - although the fact the club used his image on the front of their 2018 handbook was a clue.

Coach Brian McDermott has made a good choice.

The England centre ticks all the boxes. He may be softly spoken, but is passionate about the club and not shy about getting his point across.

At just 26, he has vast experience after 10 years in Leeds’ senior squad and has won every available honour at club level.

As a centre, Watkins is on the field throughout games - he played every minute of all Leeds’ 32 matches in 2016 - and he is well-respected and popular among the squad.

It is a high-profile position, but Watkins proved he can handle the pressure of a new, difficult role when he took over the goal kicking last season, landing a series of pressure kicks, including three at Old Trafford.

The England centre ticks all the boxes. He may be softly spoken, but is passionate about the club and not shy about getting his point across.

Peter Smith

Watkins spent seven seasons playing under the sport’s greatest-ever captain, Kevin Sinfield and has other leaders around him in the squad, the likes of Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Adam Cuthbertson and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

Ward’s time as skipper will come, though Watkins could have at least another six years at the top level.

Ward also has all the hallmarks of an outstanding captain, but - after his recent injury issues - will benefit from going about his business outside the spotlight the captaincy attracts.

Leeds Rhinos fans in Melbourne. PIC: Brendon Ratnayake/SWpix.com/PhotosportNZ

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