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Watkins Watching Both Sides Of The Globe

One Titan who has a little extra on his mind during this tough period is Kallum Watkins.

The centre is in Australia with wife Sophie and his three kids, but with the current coronavirus pandemic causing havoc around the globe, the 28-year-old is keeping a close eye on things over in England as well.

We caught up with the former Leeds Rhinos captain for a chat about how he’s dealing with it all here, and how he’s keeping in touch with his extended family back home.

How has the COVID-19 situation affected your folks back home? Have they found themselves in a supermarket swarming with people?

They’re fine, they’re just at home trying to keep themselves busy. There is nothing much they can do at this moment in time, but they’re good.

Your dad was a lollipop man (school crossing patrol). Was he still doing that, or did he have to stop?

You’re right, he was doing that. But he has actually started working in the school kitchens. So after all the schools got closed, he had to stop doing that.

Talk me through your average week. How are you doing any training, that kind of thing?

As soon as the NRL announced that the season was suspended, we weren’t allowed to train. So I got a barbell and some weights to take home with me.

I’m pretty much doing some weights, bodyweight exercises, from the programme we got given by the Club. So I just train from home with my wife, five times a week. I’ll also do some conditioning (a few) times a week to keep fit.

Titan Kallum Watkins teaches English slang

Because of the shutdown, was there ever a temptation to go home to the UK?

Yeah of course, to see the family. But we’re not sure when the NRL will be back on, so I’m just going to ride it out and see if we get back playing.

 How do you think the shutdown will affect the game, on both sides of the world?

It’s already making a big impact on the game on both sides of the world. Obviously there no live sports to watch, so that makes a massive issue on everyone that is in involved in the sport of rugby league.

Financially it’s impacted the whole world. All clubs have been forced to make some really tough decisions. Rugby league will always be here in whatever form. We just have to get through this difficult time, and we would have to rebuild on both sides. 

On the Titans, how tough was pre-season compared to a Super League one?

Yeah it was very tough, but I enjoyed it. Complete opposite conditions, much longer too, so different challenges. But I feel better physically, and I needed that mental challenge too. It was different compared to Super League for sure.

After moving midway through a season, did you feel you needed a proper pre-season?

Yeah I needed it, but I was glad I experienced the NRL mid-way through to test myself. But it was tough to say the least. I knew I need a full pre-season and trained every session from day one till the first round to be ready.