AUSTRALIAN Jordan Rankin knows he is playing for his future as he prepares for his Huddersfield Giants debut tomorrow.
The talented utility player is set to play at full-back at Salford Red Devils in the absence of injured Jake Mamo.
Rankin has only signed a six-month contract, though, having been released by NRL club Wests Tigers.
Admittedly, both parties hope to see it develop further but the 25-year-old – who played for Hull FC in 2014 and 2015 – realises he has to prove his value.
Rankin is confident of doing that and said: “It was always the goal – six months – but I knew with the footy I intend to play, that stuff will sort itself out.
“I’ve got to come and back myself; I’ve done it before and I’m confident I can do it again.
“There was a bit of talk from other clubs, some options back in the NRL, but nothing that struck me I was going to get a fair opportunity at first-grade.
“This year it just hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to so to have the opportunity to come here and play professional rugby, that’s my goal, whether it’s in Australia or here in England. I’m looking forward to getting started here.”
Rankin was a regular on the wing for Wests last year but had found opportunities hard to come by this season. He played stand-off for parts of his time with Hull and he admitted: “Talking to a lot of people back at Hull, the fans were keen to get me back there. It’s interesting to be coming here with a contract but also being able to talk to other clubs.
“I guess it’s a unique situation to be in, but I’ll take these first six months as they come and take it from there.
“I’ve spoken to the coaching staff and we’ve got a pretty clear idea where they see me at, not just for the rest of this year but for a couple more years to come.
“We’ll assess it week by week but it looks like I’ll be playing full-back with Jakey out injured.”
Huddersfield are undefeated in their last four games to bolster hopes of avoiding being dragged into the Qualifiers.
High-flying Salford will be one of their biggest tests yet but Rick Stone’s side are certainly growing in confidence.
Kiwi prop Sam Rapira returns from a ban to further enhance them although Martin Ridyard is injured. Salford welcome back Gareth O’Brien and Michael Dobson after they both missed last week’s loss against St Helens.
Rankin, meanwhile, made NRL history by making his debut for Gold Coast Titans at the age of 16 but admits he failed to live up to all the early hype.
“Obviously I started when I was really young and it’s something I’m very proud of,” he said.
“It’ something that no-one can take away from me but I probably didn’t adapt to things very well as a kid coming through with a lot of pressure on me.
“It’s not very often you see 16-year-olds in the paper every day and cameras following you everywhere but that’s part and parcel of the NRL; it’s pretty cut-throat over there.
“I had to learn how to deal with those things at a young age.
“Thankfully it hasn’t deterred me from living out my dreams and I still think my best is yet to come.”