KALLUM Watkins has left NRL side Gold Coast Titans after his father contracted coronavirus.
The former England man, who starred in their run to the 2017 World Cup final, has headed home after father Garry started suffering from Covid-19.
And his father-in-law is also suffering from a serious condition – resulting in the centre and all his family leaving Australia.
Watkins’ immediate release from Gold Coast came after he told SunSport that he felt fully over a serious knee injury he suffered in 2018.
He said: “I was glad I experienced the NRL midway through to test myself but it was tough to say the least.
“I knew I needed a full pre-season and trained every session from day one until the first round of the season to be ready. Now I feel much better and stronger in my knees.”
Watkins’ release has left Gold Coast coach, former St Helens boss Justin Holbrook, lamenting a big loss.
He 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.
“He worked incredibly hard in the off-season and that hard work was evident in the form we saw from him at the start of the season – in the trial against the Broncos, and then our two premiership games against Canberra and Parramatta.
“For him to have to walk away now just as he was getting back to his best is devastating for him, and for us as his friends.
“But family always comes first and we would never stand in Kallum’s way of doing what is best for his family in a very difficult time.
“He leaves the Titans with our thanks and best wishes, for him and his family.”
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