Gold Coast’s Kallum Watkins doesn’t know when he will get to see his family again as the England Test centre comes to grips with the international travel restrictions that have gripped Australia and the United Kingdom.
Watkins had been looking forward to welcoming his brother to Australia next month but the trip has been aborted as his family goes into full lockdown in England amid the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world.
“Yeah it is a lot more advanced (in the UK) and I spoke to my mum especially and she’s off work at the minute and my brother is as well so it’s pretty intense in the UK at this point in time,” Watkins said.
“It is a bit worrying because you don’t know how long this is going to go on for.
“I had family who wanted to come here and that is impossible now so we have to hold that back until everything clears up.
“My brother was planning on coming, a lot of my missus’s side was going to come over around April or May but that’s obviously impossible now.
“That is what it is and part of what’s happening at the minute and we just have to stick together and things hopefully will come good.”
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The Titans will play Parramatta in an empty Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday and the players have made it clear they’re determined to play so they can wipe the memory of last week’s poor first-round showing against Canberra.
Hooker Mitch Rein can’t recall ever playing a game of rugby league without spectators, but said the Titans would be comfortable with the situation given they’d done weekly sessions at an empty stadium during the preseason.
Rein, however, warned television viewers at home to be prepared to hear conversations that were normally inaudible during regular games due to the crowd noise.
“You will definitely hear what everyone is saying and if there’s any arguments it might be pretty funny,” Rein said.
“There might be a bit of language getting thrown around. People watching at home might hear a few things they might not normally hear.
“To be honest we’ve been training at Cbus all pre-season in that stadium in front of no one anyway so we’ve been doing that once a week for a while so we will be ready for it and will be looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Titans CEO Steve Mitchell issued a public thanks to the club’s owners, the Kelly and Frizelle families, plus their sponsors and members for standing by the club during this period of uncertainty.
Mitchell said the Titans faced a difficult six months ahead but was confident they would survive.
“I’m confident we can get through it, we need to manage the business and keep it within its means and do what it takes to adjust,” Mitchell said.
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“We’re lucky in the fact we’ve got some really good people here and our owners the Kelly and Frizelle family.
“No doubt we have six tough months of work ahead of us.
“We’ve had emails from every single sponsor in regards to support and believing in what we’re doing at the moment. It’s been really heart-warming to be quite honest.
“Major events and crises like this combine communities. Binding behind our sport is fundamental to the Australian psyche.
“We follow our sporting icons and heroes and teams and in times of crisis it gives people something to focus on and something to get away from the mundane of what they’re facing so it’s important we continue with this (NRL competition) as long as we can.”