By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/01/19 8:51pm
Huddersfield have completed a swap deal with Castleford that will take Joe Wardle back to the John Smith’s Stadium in exchange for Jordan Rankin.
The swap is initially a loan move, with a view to becoming a permanent arrangement.
Wardle, who made 125 Super League appearances for the Giants from 2011-16, will fly back from Castleford’s training camp in Lanzarote in time to link up with his new club on Monday.
He joined the Tigers a year ago after cutting short his spell with Australian club Newcastle Knights and will join up with his 20-year-old brother Jake, who has been given the Giants squad number 20 for the 2019 season.
Rankin, 27, an Australian who previously played in Super League with Hull FC, made 30 appearances for Huddersfield in 2018 but did not figure in coach Simon Woolford’s future plans.
Castleford director of rugby Jon Wells said: “Jordan is a player that I have admired for a few years now.
“He’s a very experienced, high-quality player who we think will be a great fit at the club.
“He is a fantastic competitor who can provide options in a number of positions and further strengthens our backline, so we can’t wait for him to get started with us.”
The signing of Rankin is not connected to Castleford’s possible pursuit of a new half-back after they were granted salary cap dispensation following the loss of Luke Gale with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Huddersfield’s former New Zealand Warriors prop Sebastine Ikahihifo had been linked with a move to the Tigers but Woolford says he remains in his plans for the new season.
“Cas did entertain the idea of swapping him for Wardle but it never really grew any legs and we feel comfortable with that,” said Woolford at the Giants’ annual sponsors’ lunch.
“We feel we could do with some more depth in the outside backs and back row and that’s what Joe will give us.
“Sebastine is well and truly in our plans this year.
“He came back a little bit underdone and I was a little disappointed there but I’ve had a couple of good talks with him and he knows that, while he’s here, we’re going to work to get the best out of him.
“He’s really knuckled down and trained hard the last two or three weeks.”
Meanwhile, Huddersfield have appointed New Zealand-born coach Willie Poching to their backroom staff.
Poching, 45, who played for Wakefield and Leeds before spending time as an assistant coach with the Rhinos, Warrington, Hull KR and Salford, will be part of a new-look backroom team at the John Smith’s Stadium in 2019, initially on a part-time basis.
The Giants, who appointed head coach Woolford last April, parted company with his assistant Chris Thorman at the end of last season.
“We have been looking around for some help for a few weeks now and Willie was keen to get back into the game after a short break,” said Woolford.
“I think we’ll be a good fit for each other.”