Kallum Watkins says English players could follow Justin Holbrook to the Gold Coast. Picture: Chris Hyde
Kallum Watkins says English players could follow Justin Holbrook to the Gold Coast. Picture: Chris Hyde

Holbrook arrival could drive Pommy invasion

GOOD COAST English import Kallum Watkins says the signing of Justin Holbrook as the club's next head coach could open the door for more of his countrymen to make the jump to the NRL.

English international Watkins, who made a solid debut for the Titans last week, praised Holbrook for his successful run in the Super League with St Helens.

The former Leeds centre got to see that success firsthand and said he would not be surprised if some St Helens  players followed their coach to Australia.

"With the Saints boys ... there have been players wanting to come," Watkins said.

"There are players in the Super League that want to test themselves here as well.

"The guys that have come here to test themselves earlier have made a massive impact and encouraged more players to come and take it on - like myself."

Watkins, 28, said he was eager to see his new coach translate his success with St Helens to the struggling Titans.

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook will be missed by the Saints. Picture: Dave Howarth/Getty Images
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook will be missed by the Saints. Picture: Dave Howarth/Getty Images

"I have met him (Holbrook) a couple of times and always found him to be a nice fella," Watkins said.

"You can see he is getting the best out of the Saints players, and he will instil that over here.

"It is massively important because you have to get on with your players, have relationships with them, and know how to deal with your players because they are all different.

"It seems like he is doing that at St Helens. It seems like he cares, and that is the most important thing for the team and the club.

"He has a lot of passion for what he does, and a lot of care for what he does. You can see that. If he can instil that here, it is going to be good."

Holbrook's immediate concern in 2020, however, will be rebuilding the mental fortitude of this year's wooden spoon favourites.

The Titans face a horror run home starting with Sunday's clash with defending premiers Sydney before  dates with finals-bound Melbourne and fringe top-eight sides Parramatta and Newcastle.

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