There are eight rounds remaining in the shortened 2020 NRL season and the race for finals places will continue in earnest this weekend.
There have been some absolute pearlers in this series, but it’s not often I get to introduce one of the flashbacks as the infamous ‘penis biter’. Yep, that happened.
Born on the Gold Coast, Watts made his debut for the Cronulla Sharks at the back end of the 2007 season, playing five games for the club as a halfback and hooker. He showed plenty of promise in those five matches, with a robust running style and aggressive defence and was resultantly offered a contract with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Watts’ Cowboys stint was a relatively successful one. He featured in 47 games for the club over a three-year period and scored eight tries. But, his time in the NRL and at the Cowboys is probably best remembered for the famous scrum brawls with Robbie Farah at Leichardt Oval in 2009.
In Round 19, the Tigers hosted the Cowboys in front of nearly 19,000 fans. Early in the first half, the Tigers scored untouched from a scrum feed ten metres out from the Cowboys line. When referee Shane Hayne went to the video referee, the entire stadium scratched their heads, until it was revealed that Watts had delivered a savage and seemingly unprovoked attack to the face of Robbie Farah – knocking out the Tigers captain in the process.
A few minutes later, another scrum packed down, and Farah proceeded to trap Watts in a headlock and unleash a barrage of punches to the head of Watts, leaving the Cowboys hooker bruised and bloodied.
In 2010 Watts signed a three-year contract with the Sydney Roosters set to begin in 2011, but, he would never play a match for the Bondi club.
During pre-season, Watts was involved in an incident with Todd Carney (who else?) which resulted in him being charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Roosters CEO Steve Noyce commented that “Anthony Watts has been suspended effective immediately and will be issued with a breach notice.
“The club has worked closely with Anthony in the past to address a number of issues, including anti-social behaviour, and this decision stands regardless of what the court decides.”
The English Super League would offer a lifeline to Watts, and he would head to the Widnes Vikings for the 2012 season. His Super League career would last just ten minutes, though, as he suffered an ACL tear in round one. Despite signing a one-year contract extension after that, he would leave the club for ‘personal reasons,’ and head back to Queensland.
What happened next for Watts really sucked.
Playing with the Tugun Seahawks in the Gold Coast Rugby League competition, Watts was suspended for eight weeks for biting an opposition player on the penis during a match. Which put simply, is a real dick move.
While that incident left a sour taste in the mouth, it wouldn’t be the last bit of controversy for the former NRL bad boy.
He became a member of The Finks and Mongols, bikie gangs who were under investigation for various gang-related crimes. It resulted in Watts being sent to jail on two occasions in 2013 and 2014. His second arrest was featured on television program Gold Coast Cops.
Given the meathead nature of Watts’ behaviour, it was almost expected he would make a move to a career in boxing.
He won his first professional bout in just 29 seconds, proving that he certainly had potential in the sport. His second bout was against Sharks captain Paul Gallen in 2014, and for all the wrong reasons the fight lasted just 88 seconds as Watts suffered a severe shoulder injury. He has not fought since.
Watts returned to football in 2015, playing for South Newcastle but almost immediately suffered a ruptured patella tendon.
He made headlines in August 2016 when he allegedly bashed a bridesmaid’s husband at a Gold Coast wedding. Watts was six weeks into a 16-week anger management program. 16 months may be a more realistic time frame for Watts to work through his problems.