Last update: 18/04/20 13:18
England Kallum Watkins has been granted an immediate release from Gold Coast Titans to deal with “serious family health problems”.
The Australian club NRL announced that the former Leeds Rhinos player would return to the UK immediately.
Watkins’ agent, Chris Orr, told al Courier service that the player’s father had contracted the coronavirus.
A statement from his club read: “The Gold Coast titans granted a request to the British test center Kallum Watkins for an immediate release from his NRL contract, so that he could return to the UK for personal reasons.
“After a period of recovery from a knee reconstruction and an adaptation to last year’s NRL, an extraordinary pre-season had the 29 year old set to offer the best for the Titans in 2020.
“However, some serious family health concerns forced Watkins and his family to immediately move his family to the UK, taking his time on the Gold Coast – and his long-stated desire to prove himself in the ‘NRL – to a premature end. “
Titan head coach Justin Holbrook added: “Kallum has been here for a short time, but he is an immensely popular boy in the game group.
“Every day he showed the qualities that the club wanted from him – namely his leadership and professionalism.
“I am mostly just bitterly disappointed for Kallum – firstly that he has to endure this terrible situation with health problems with family members, and secondly that he has had to abandon his dream of testing himself in the NRL.
“For him having to leave now while he was returning to his best is devastating for him and us as his friends.
“But the family always comes first, and we would never be in Kallum’s way of doing what’s best for her family in a very difficult time.
“Leave the Titans with our thanks and best wishes for him and his family.”
Watkins made more than 250 appearances for rhinos before moving to Australia in 2019.