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Kallum Watkins gives important injury update after undergoing surgery

The story of Kallum Watkins’ career is an interesting one but it has now come full circle.

Once a Salford ball boy, the former Leeds Rhinos skipper is now set to captain the Red Devils in 2023 and this makes it all the more special as he said on the club’s YouTube channel: ” I was a big Salford supporter when I was younger, I was a ball-boy as well. It’s got an emotional attachment to me and my family which is huge, I’m really proud and honoured to be captain of Salford Red Devils and I know that the club is looking to achieve higher things and I know the fans will be excited after last year and we want to continue playing well.

“The players that we’ve brought in will add to that, the players we had already made a huge inroad last season so they’ll want to go one better next year.”

The former Leeds skipper only spent 18 months in the role at Headingley and said that it was not something that came natural to him: “It’s not been a natural thing to lead in terms of a vocal side or in terms of talking to the players or making sure that everything is ok, but I feel like I’ve grown into that through my time playing and I think my kind of leadership is through my actions. I’ll bring things up when needed and not for the sake of it. I want to get the best out of my teammates and myself.”

Changing to the role of being a captain isn’t the only role change Watkins has endured recently with the once World Class centre developing into a top tier backrow in 2022: “You’re a lot more involved in the defensive side of it and attacking wise you do get the ball a lot more on that edge and for me it was just about the hard work and grind that back-rowers do. You realise that when you do play with the players that I played with in the past, they’re normally the hardest working players out there. Usually play the full game, make tons of tackles and quite a few carries. For me it was about moulding my game as a centre and putting it into a forward action in terms of what forwards do, running lines and getting the ball early to get my edge up with me. It’s helped me be accountable in terms of my leadership and getting the best out of my players and teammates as well.”

Despite transitioning to second-row, Watkins played centre again for England in the Rugby League World Cup.

After being part of the side to lose to Samoa in the semi-finals, Watkins reflected on the heartbreak: “To be able to represent my country again for a third World Cup isn’t something I thought would happen, especially with injuries. I got quite lucky in terms of the pandemic and it being cancelled for a year. That probably gave me the push to try and get in the squad, I’d have been happy just getting in the squad and being part of camp but at the same time I got the opportunity to play and really enjoyed playing. We came up short which was disappointing but that’s how rugby is, there’s ups and downs.”

As England crashed out of the World Cup, Watkins picked up an injury.

The Salford skipper has now given an update on when he could return to the side: “I’m pushing for round one, training is going well at the minute. Surgery went really well, I had it just before Christmas so I’ve came back in pretty good shape. The guys are working me hard, the physios and conditioners these next few weeks to get me fit. Hopefully I’ll get to full training by the end of January really which would be great.

“I’ve been doing a lot of contact stuff and running but that’s how pre-season is, it’s tough. The challenge has been set for me to try and get back for round one.”

As the new season creeps closer, Watkins is determined to guide the Red Devils to a trophy in 2023:

“We got pretty close to getting tot he Grand Final last year, this club wants to go even further and lift the trophy which would be really special for the club. That always should be the aim for this club, obviously the last few years have been pretty difficult. The pandemic hit as well which made it tough but we’ve got to a Challenge Cup Final. Grand Final in 2019.

“We’re a small bunch but we’re the loudest out there which makes it really special when we perform for you guys, so we want to challenge for trophies. We know we’ve got tough teams that we’ll need to beat to get there but I’m more than confident that with this group of lads, the coaching staff, the players and the club that we run here, it’s really exciting times for this year.”

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