England International Kallum Watkins has been released by NRL side Gold Coast Titans on compassionate grounds.
Watkins had signed for the Titans last year, after several trophy-laden years with Leeds Rhinos in the Super League.
His time down under was disrupted by having to have a knee reconstruction. However, he had performed well in pre-season, and was said to be right in Justin Holbrook’s plans.
But due to what the Titans describe as ‘serious family health concerns’, Watkins has returned to the UK.
Holbrook told the Titans’ club website: “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.”