CAPTAIN Kallum Watkins has signed a new contract which will keep him at Leeds Rhinos for another three seasons.
The England centre had a year left on his existing deal, but Rhinos have moved quickly to keep him at the club – and in rugby league – until after the next World Cup in 2021.
Watkins, who has been linked with moves to rugby union, said: “I love this club from the bottom of my heart – it is a fantastic club and I have been fortunate to be part of a successful period in the early part of my career.
“Our challenge now is to take that culture forward. The special thing about this club is the family aspect and how we collectively want to achieve something together.
“That made it very easy to extend my contract. The whole environment was key in convincing me that I wanted to stay here.”
Watkins has been in outstanding form since being named captain ahead of this season.
He admitted he may have been a surprise appointment, but stressed: “The role is a big responsibility, but I am really enjoying it and want to take that chance with both hands. I am just making sure I am being myself and keeping the boys calm when the is pressure on.
“As the Rhinos we are always going to be under pressure and we need to perform each week. We are expected to win, but that is the pressure I enjoy and thrive on.”
Chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “Kallum was one of the outstanding players in the World Cup last autumn, which is naturally going to attract plenty of attention for him.
“He is an elite, world class player and, at 27, he is committing his best years to the Rhinos and Super League, which is a fantastic boost for our club and competition.”
The special thing about this club is the family aspect and how we collectively want to achieve something together.Kallum Watkins
Warrington centre Toby King has signed a new deal until the end of the 2019 season.
The 21-year-old Ireland international has scored 11 tries in 37 appearances for the Wolves since making his debut in 2014.
Warrington coach Steve Price said: “There’s a lot more improvement in Toby and I know what sort of player he can be down the track.”