Kallum Watkins quits NRL side Gold Coast Titans after father contracts coronavirus

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Kallum Watkins
Kallum Watkins (left) won six Grand Finals with the Leeds Rhinos

England centre Kallum Watkins has quit NRL side Gold Coast Titans and returned home to be with his father, who has contracted coronavirus.

The former Leeds Rhinos skipper, 29, joined the Australian side in June 2019, but only made eight appearances after knee reconstruction surgery.

His manager, Chris Orr, said Watkins wanted to "prove a point" in Australia, but "family comes first".

Watkins has played 25 Tests for England and scored over 100 career tries.

The Titans said they had accepted a request from Watkins for himself and his family to return to the UK immediately, ending a contract which was due to run until 2021.

Head coach Justin Holbrook said: "Kallum has only been here for a short time, but he is an immensely popular guy in the playing group.

"Every day he exhibited the qualities that the club wanted from him - namely his leadership and his professionalism.

"I am mostly just bitterly disappointed for Kallum - firstly that he has to endure this awful situation with health concerns with family members, and secondly that he has had to walk away from his dream of proving himself in the NRL."

Orr said they will now "look at his options" in the Super League to resume Watkins' career.

Watkins started his career at Leeds in 2007, winning six Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and the World Club Challenge during his time at Headingley.

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