Written by Callum Walker
Following the announcement of his exit from the Mend-a-Hose Jungle, Jordan Rankin has received a plethora of well-wishes from the friends he made on both the terraces as well as at the Castleford club.
The Aussie is set to return home and will not come back to the Tigers when the season gets underway. The 28-year-old had been searching for a new contract for next season, but the Tigers and Rankin clearly could not agree on terms as the West Yorkshire club announced the signing of Salford star fullback Niall Evalds from 2021 onwards.
Australian utility back Rankin joined the Tigers in a swap deal last year with Joe Wardle heading the opposite way to Huddersfield. That move paid dividends for the former Hull FC man as he improved week-by-week, becoming one of Castleford’s most consistent performers by the end of 2019.
Having been given the number one shirt for 2020, Rankin excelled in the opening five games of the season, claiming that fullback position for his own after switching between fullback and halfback for much of 2019.
10 tries in 28 games doesn’t really pay the picture as to how important Rankin became for the Tigers, but his stint at the back is certainly the best that the Castleford faithful has witnessed since Zak Hardaker’s acrimonious departure back in 2017.
📰 Castleford Tigers have confirmed that Jordan Rankin has been granted a release so that he may return home to Australia.
We would like to thank @jordo_rankin for all his efforts and wish him and his family the best for the future.
— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) May 25, 2020
Rankin was the closest to those mentioned and, despite being incomparable to Hardaker defensively or Dorn attacking-wise, the Australian wore his heart on his sleeve and put everything into his short spell at the Jungle.
Talent and skill can get you so far, but drive and determination gets you that extra step, and Rankin had this in abundance. Of course, with a quota spot up for grabs and with Evalds the future Castleford number one for a good few years, it was always likely to be the end of the road for Rankin. It’s just disappointing that his time at the club had to end during this crisis.