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Kallum Watkins during off-season training.

Titans centre Kallum Watkins insists he will return to the form that made him a regular England international after following his wife's lead.

Watkins said an intense off-season fitness campaign had worked wonders, helped along by following his wife Sophie for some extra sessions in the gymnasium.

After making his debut for Leeds as a 17-year-old, he played more than 250 games for the club, winning three Super League titles, two Challenge Cup finals and a World Club Challenge in 11 seasons, while also representing England on 22 occasions.

He returned too soon for Leeds last year from an ACL injury suffered in 2018 and joined the Titans mid-season where he played six NRL games without showcasing his best.

Recognising the need to work on his physical fitness away from contact, he attended Burleigh gym, F45 Fitness.

The founders of F45 describe their fitness centres as an "ecosystem that develops incredible physiques and strong camaraderie".

"My missus goes five times a week so I asked if her if I could come," Watkins told

Titans centre Kallum Watkins.
Titans centre Kallum Watkins. ©

"They have a crèche there as well and I have three boys. One goes to school but the other two boys could play there and during the off-season we’d go every morning five days a week and compete against each other.

"I would do simple 45-minute sessions. I say simple, but they were really hard and different to rugby league training, so when I came in for the start of pre-season testing I wasn’t lacking anything and I felt a lot better.

"This is a big year for myself I know that, and obviously for the club as well."

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Watkins arrived on the Gold Coast last year after a mid-season transfer from Leeds after a rollercoaster couple of years.

"The World Cup [in 2017] went well and the next season I was made captain of Leeds and I was playing as well as I had in a long time," Watkins said.

"Then I did my knee and it was a big injury. I was in a situation where I wanted to come back and play but I came back too early last year and it probably knocked my confidence, and that affected my performance.

"I was determined to get back to play because that is the sort of person I am, but the big issue I had all year was trying to get back to where I needed to be.

"There were times that I thought I was, but then I’d have a setback. That is part of the sport, but I believe in myself and that I can get back to where I was and where I need to be with the help of the performance guys at the Gold Coast."

Over the years Watkins has watched the Burgess brothers and more recently the likes of Canberra’s Josh Hodgson, John Bateman and company make a successful transition from Super League to the NRL.

He said there were several occasions he could have moved to the NRL "but it never got to the point where I had to make a decision".

"The Gold Coast have been interested for a while," he said.

Kallum Watkins during his first season with the Titans in 2019.
Kallum Watkins during his first season with the Titans in 2019. ©Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos

"I wasn’t going too well back at Leeds and then I got an opportunity to come here which was big for me because I’d wanted that challenge for a long time.

“It has been a learning curve. I know how big the hype is around the NRL. I’ve played against the best players in the world and the best players are here. I always thought if I didn’t come that it would always be a regret."

Watkins hasn’t played for England since the 2017 World Cup final against Australia and has set his sights on helping the Poms gain revenge on home soil in next year's tournament.

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"I’d love to represent England in the next World Cup. It is a huge thing," Watkins said.

"We had it in England back in 2013 and even though the heartbreak of the semi-final loss to New Zealand was tough it was a fantastic experience, as was the [World Cup] experience in Australia. It was the best of my life.

"I want to be part of it again but I also know I have a lot of work to do and have a good season here. It has been tough times for the Gold Coast and I want to do really well for them."

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