Watkins to depart Leeds early for Gold Coast Titans

Kallum Watkins will cut short his final season with Leeds Rhinos to join NRL club Gold Coast Titans.

Leeds had already announced the England centre - who made his Rhinos debut at the age of 17 - would be departing after both sides mutually agreed to cut short a contract that still had two years left to run.

Watkins captained the Super League club in Friday's 23-14 home loss to Wigan Warriors but will leave Headingley at the end of June.

"I am excited to be going to the Titans and the new challenge for me and my family," he said in a statement. 

"It has all happened so quickly but my focus for now is on helping the Rhinos climb the table. I have had so much great support from our fans, sponsors, players and staff and I will be doing my best, as I always do, before I leave."

The 28-year-old - a three-time Grand Final winner who has scored over a century of tries for Leeds - will join the struggling Titans on a deal until the end of 2021.

"Kallum is an exceptional talent," Mal Meninga, who is head of performance and culture at Gold Coast, said. "I have had to coach against him with the Kangaroos, and he is a very dangerous player.

"Importantly for the Titans, however, he is also a very experienced player and a terrific leader. As captain of the Rhinos, he has shown the leadership qualities that will be a tremendous asset for the Titans."

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