Australians lock horns as Wakefield entertain Giants

HUDDERSFIELD Giants' Jordan Rankin has not needed to do much homework on Wakefield Trinity's Jacob Miller '“ they were childhood friends in Australia and former housemates in Hull.

Jordan Rankin: Aiming to claim No 6 jersey.

The rival stand-offs will face each other at Belle Vue tomorrow in what is set to be a key battle in the West Yorkshire derby.

Rankin, the 26-year-old who is eight months older, recalled: “We played together as juniors coming through Australian Schoolboys and then, obviously, when I moved over to Hull FC (in 2014) we lived together, too.

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“I’m very close with him and his kids and his partner Kayla, who I went to school with, so we have a good connection. But I think this is only the third time we’ve played each other.”

Although Rankin only joined Huddersfield last June after an 18-month stint back in the NRL with Wests Tigers, Miller left Hull for Wakefield in 2015 and has grown into an integral part of Chris Chester’s side.

“‘Milky’ played some really good footy last season and is one of those guys who just needs an opportunity to play good footy week-in, week-out to build his confidence,” he said.

“He’s got that with Wakey and has probably become their go-to man over the last few seasons.

“It’s no surprise as he’s always had that ability and talent; it’s good to see him now with decent players around him and starting to flourish.”

Rankin, meanwhile, is looking to make the Giants’ stand-off role his own, having featured mainly at full-back last term while Jake Mamo was sidelined.

Fellow No 6 Lee Gaskell is currently playing centre with Leroy Cudjoe injured and Rankin admitted: “It’s a good opportunity for me to cement a spot.

“I’ve been playing standoff and enjoying it; it’s been a good start to the year and a good challenge enjoying getting back into it.

“I feel just as comfortable at full-back but I definitely can see myself playing six for the majority of my career and I’m looking forward to a big season with Huddersfield.

“This is a massive game. We’re desperate for the win; there’s a difference between going one and four and two and two so we have to go with right mindset to get it done.”