New Titan Kallum Watkins said the Gold Coast was always his preferred choice of club for the English international star to test himself in Australia’s National Rugby League.
Watkins, after a stellar 12-year career with Super League giants Leeds Rhinos, is now a Titan after joining the Gold Coast before the June 30 NRL transfer deadline.
After spending his entire club career in the Rhinos’ blue and gold, Watkins looked right at home while pulling on the Titans’ strip for the first time.
Still only 28, Watkins will bring enormous doses of strikepower and experience to the Titans backline when he finally tests himself in the Australian competition.
In the first of a two-part interview with titans.com.au, Watkins admits he planned on playing in Australia earlier, but found it hard to drag himself away from a golden era for the Rhinos that netted him more than 128 tries in over 252 games, three premierships and two Challenge Cup titles.
But the 25-Test veteran said he always envisaged becoming a Titan when he eventually made the leap to the NRL.
“I have been here a few times,” Watkins told titans.com.au. “Every time I visit Australia, I come to the Gold Coast.
“It is very well spoken about in terms of the lifestyle, and how nice the city is. I know all that from when I have taken my family there on previous times.
“I always thought, in terms of going to the NRL and what club I would probably go to, the Gold Coast was right up there, definitely.
“I have had opportunities to come (to the NRL) in the past, and not taken them. But right now there was an opportunity, and I have taken it with both hands.
“I just want to get myself settled here as quickly as possible and get to know the fellas, and get to know everybody at the club.
“It is going to be a big challenge for me to get back to my best form and do well for Gold Coast.”
Watkins also talks about living up to high standards set by his fellow Englishmen who have already made their mark in the NRL, including the Burgess brothers at South Sydney, Dragons pair James Graham and Gareth Widdop, and Canberra’s Josh Hodgson, John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead.