KALLUM Watkins admits the alarm bells have been ringing for him all year – but that is a good thing.
For it is the way he reacts to even his wake-up call that could go a long way to winning the World Cup with England.
The Leeds centre will be one of the main strike weapons for Wayne Bennett’s side, which starts the tournament against Australia on Friday.
But a talk about what players do off the field at one of the monthly meet-ups of the Super League-based players was what hit home the most.
Professor Damian Hughes delivered a speech earlier this year on what goes into the world’s very best sports teams – and as well as talent it is largely in the mind.
How players react to anything, even when the alarm goes off in the morning, can affect what they do on the field.
Watkins said: “For me, it was about continuing to be more focused and when I get an opportunity, I’ve got to try and take it as much as I can.
“Rugby league is a hard game, it’s a hard sport but it’s a huge team game and for us it’s about doing the little things.
“Whether it’s on or off the field, they all roll into a ball and go into the game. It was about anything that you think can help benefit you whether it’s going into training or playing.
“Professor Hughes was great. He was very big on the psychology side of things – just belief and believing that we can win it.
“It was also aspects of how people act and how people deal with things. It was really impressive, he was a really interesting guy.
“A lot of players took a lot out of it. We’ve got to do whatever it takes to win.”
Professor Hughes, who is described as a ‘liquid thinker’, addressed England’s players at one of the monthly meet-ups of Super League players.
The settings may not have been flash, often a hotel by a motorway, but the effects could be huge going into the World Cup.
England have also played a mid-season Test against Samoa and a warm-up game against a Combined Affiliated States side.
And while they might seem small compared to taking on the world’s best down under, they could all do their bit if England lift the trophy on December 2.
Watkins, 26 added: “There’s been the mid-season game but also the regular meetings of the Super League-based players, they all help about how we work as a team.
“If we want to win it, we’ve all got to believe in each other.”
Watkins scored one of England’s 13 tries as they beat the Affiliated States 74-12 on Friday.
But he has already been at the centre of the first World Cup drama after he was initially named in the starting line-up, when he was only meant to play in the third and fourth quarters of the friendly.
He said: “It was good to get out there and get some minutes on the board. We got some combinations going too.
“It was nice to get my hands on the ball and do a little bit of defending too.
“I was told the other day that I was going to be playing in the second half, I don’t know what went on there with the team!”
Rugby League World Cup is as good as it gets… and England can win it!
hall for won
Ryan Hall says World Cup glory for England comes before try-scoring heroics
Paul Aiton warns Wales and Ireland they are in for a shock in Papua New Guinea
England’s James Roby braced for lines from The Office off pal James Graham
Clever clogs Walmsley is ready to school the world when England head Down Under