At just 28-years-old Castleford Tigers player Jordan Rankin is currently in his 13th season of first grade Rugby League and still has plenty of years left in him.
He would debut for the Gold Coast Titans at 16-years-old making him the third-youngest debutant in NRL history.
Rankin shares the shock his school friends expressed when he was selected to debut and how he dealt with the pressure of playing in the NRL as a teenager.
“It was probably a time I didn’t realise fully how big of a deal it was until later down the track,” Rankin tells Everything Rugby League.
“My friends didn’t really believe it was happening and I sort of didn’t either at a point there throughout that week.
“It was an experience I loved and will cherish forever.
“I don’t think I handled it well at all, but I suppose being 16 how do you handle that stuff when you have never been through that before? It was a massive learning experience for me and everything that came with it. I had to learn and continue to learn how to deal with these pressures as my career got going.”
After a five year tenure at the Titans, Rankin made a huge move over to Super League outfit Hull FC, a club in which he has fond memories of.
“I absolutely loved my time at Hull.
“I left the Gold Coast, my home town to come to the other side of the world to just play first-grade footy.
“I could of probably stayed in Australia and done that but I needed a big change and I needed to get outside my comfort zone to make that happen.
“Hull FC gave me that chance and the Hull fans welcomed me with open arms and a time in my life I’ll hold close forever. They have passionate fans, loyal and want the very best for the club so play for a club with such a rich history was really really eye-opening.”
The utility’s time in the NRL was not done, however, with Rankin deciding to move to the Wests Tigers in 2014 to be closer to home.
“I was originally going to stay in Hull for another couple of seasons but for one reason or another, that didn’t happen.
“I took a phone call from Warren McDonald who was the recruitment officer at the Tigers and he gave me an opportunity to come home. Having the opportunity to be closer to my family again was a big reason for that.”
In 2018, Rankin would sign with the Huddersfield Giants in a move that unfortunately did not work out and he would end up at his current club the Castleford Tigers where things are looking a lot more positive for the fullback and the team.
“I signed for Huddersfield under Rick Stone and really believed in his philosophy of the game and what he was trying to implement there at the club. He, unfortunately, lasted only a year when I arrived after a bad start to the second season.
“The next year I had the offer to move to Castleford who has been an outstanding side under Powell for a number of years and when they came knocking I just had to take the opportunity.
“We were building nicely this season before the year was suspended and I truly believe we have what it takes to make this season very successful when and if it gets back up and running.”
Rankin’s Tigers currently sit equal first on the Super League ladder with the Wigan Warriors after winning six of their opening seven games.