The Toronto Wolfpack have signed National Rugby League defector Kallum Watkins to a deal for the rest of the 2020 Super League season should it resume. The league schedule was suspended last month due to the corona virus outbreak but it clearly hasn’t stopped the Wolfpack from making moves to bolster their roster. With a 0-6 record before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down their campaign – and sports leagues worldwide – the ‘Pack can use all the help they can get if they want to hit the ground running when things eventually return to the field.
In Watkins they get a Brian McDermott soldier and a 13-year Leeds Rhinos veteran (132 tries, 256 games). The pair spent nearly 8 years together in Leeds and under McDermott’s head coaching the team became a highly decorated force – winning four Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and a large collection of individual hardware for their stars, of which Watkins was a captain.
The centre spent this season and last with the Gold Coast Titans of the NRL before asking for a release last week to care for his COVID-19 stricken father in England. Somewhere between Australia and the UK the framework of a deal was explored, offered and accepted making Watkins the newest member of a ‘Pack looking to avoid relegation in their maiden Super League season.
There has been some talk of scrapping relegation this year whether the schedule resumes or not – at which point the capped-out, roster-patching Wolfpack would be wise to save their money. On the flip-side – in order to sell tickets, build the brand and take advantage of the extremely small, two-year contract window Sonny Bill Williams offers – the team must win now. Watkins is another good player and known name whose best days have been accused of being behind him. He was a small contributor for the Titans in just 8 total appearances but should see a much bigger role in Toronto at a reduced salary.
“We’re just going through a bit of red tape with the RFL to be able to register him,” McDermott told the Canadian Press. “But yeah, he’s signed.”