McRae: Liam Watts' move from Hull KR to Hull FC makes sense
HULL FC say they have no concerns over the off-field "baggage" that could come with signing Liam Watts from neighbours Hull KR.
The Mail understands the Black and Whites have agreed a deal with KR to bring the England Knights prop to the KC Stadium with immediate effect.
And director of rugby Shaun McRae says Watts' quality and potential have outweighed any other concerns in their minds.
The 21-year-old has endured a chequered couple of years at the Robins and was temporarily suspended by the club last season after his arrest for an alleged involvement in a police chase.
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Watts was finally told he had no case to answer in April of this year, but by then had found himself out of favour with coach Craig Sandercock.
His move across the city comes as sources have told the Mail that Watts was asked to leave the England Knights' training camp last week for disciplinary reasons.
Coming just two years after he was named Super League's Rookie of the Year however, Hull coach Peter Gentle is prepared to back his ability to get Watts' career back on the right track.
"When you want a player it is for several reasons but primarily it is for their rugby league skills and what they bring on the field," McRae told the Mail.
"If they come with baggage then that can be handled with a contract and you can have stipulations that help the club and the player in those circumstances.
"Primarily when you sign a player you ask does he fit the needs of the team? Does he want to be at your club? Is he affordable? Does he benefit your organisation?
"That is up to the coach to decide and if the coach decides yes, then it is my job to try and get that player to sign."
While Watts may have failed to hit the heights expected of him two years ago, when NRL clubs were looking at him, Hull believe they can help the former Castleford Tigers junior justify his unquestionable talent.
Eager for a fresh start to his career, Watts went to Rovers' board earlier this month and asked to be released from his contract, which was due to end at the conclusion of the 2013 season.
The decision by the Robins to grant Watts' release sparked interest from a number of Super League clubs, with Hull and Wakefield Wildcats the two front-runners from the start.
Watts is understood to have told his agent early on that Hull were his preference, with his close friend Joe Westerman having spoken highly of coach Gentle and the Black and Whites' set-up.
A deal is now understood to have been agreed, with Hull prepared to pay a fee to take Watts with more than a year remaining on his deal.
The move could come too late for Watts to feature at Warrington this weekend, with a debut more likely in FC's next home game against Huddersfield on July 1.
Rovers coach Craig Sandercock admitted Watts' future was now best served away from MS3 Craven Park.
"All I'll say is that it's probably the best thing for Liam and for Hull KR," he said when asked about the player's request to leave.
"We are trying to build a team culture where no individual is bigger than the team. I want this great club to do the best it can."
Asked what he thought about Watts' attributes as a player, he said: "He's a very good player with enormous potential."