Just yesterday Kallum Watkins was announced as the captain of Salford Red Devils prior to their 2023 season and he’s since spoken about the positional change during 2022 that has transformed his career.
Watkins has played most of his career in the centres and was very talented there too, racking up over 100 tries with Leeds Rhinos where he started his career, but the positional switch at Salford has sprung a new life into the 31-year-old.
A shift to second-row under coach Paul Rowley has worked wonders and saw Watkins recalled to the England World Cup squad, in which he played in all five matches for England.
Upon his announcement as skipper, head coach Rowley said: “Choosing the right man to lead our team in 2023 was a process that proved fulfilling and enjoyable.
“The privilege of leading our group has been given to Kallum Watkins, who is quite simply everything you would want from a leader.
“He drives standards and is held in the upmost respect by his teammates and all our staff. It was a privilege to inform Kal and I’m looking forward to seeing him lead out the team.”
Watkins has spoken to Betfred’s Youtube channel ahead of the season and has recalled that position change and the strides he took during the 2022 season.
“I was building up to it (changing positions) during the time I was in rehab, knowing that when I came back that would potentially be the position I was going into.
“We’ve got a couple of guys there that have worked really hard playing in centre, the likes of Deon Cross who has had a fantastic year and long may that continue, getting into the England Knights squad. That’s positive for him and the club.
“It’s gave me the opportunity to play in the back row and I’ve really enjoyed it, its a tough job out there but I’ve enjoyed the hard work, working for my teammates and doing what’s possible for this team to win. Long may that continue.”
Watkins missed a a lengthy spell from June 2021 with a meniscus injury that required surgery but his drive to return and be amongst teammates was what he credited his successful 2022 campaign towards.
“For me my goal was to get back playing, enjoying the game and loving it again. I think the club helped me in terms of bringing that enjoyment back into the game, the coaching staff and players were big in that.
“I just love being out their with the boys, we know what we’re capable of and for us it’s about improving on what we did last year and enjoying each others companies. We’ve also got to work hard at the same time in terms of or preparation, training and the standards that we set. It’s key into building into a big year.”