Rising Huddersfield Giants star Jacob keeping Fairbank family name in the spotlight
ONE of the Giants brightest rising stars is making sure the famous Fairbank rugby league dynasty continues.
At the age of 19, talented forward Jacob Fairbank is already proving to be one of Huddersfield’s hottest young properties.
Having been promoted to the Giants’ Super League squad for 2010, the Halifax-based Fairbank underlined his potential by leading a young and inexperienced Huddersfield side into pre-season action against full-strength Batley Bulldogs at Mount Pleasant a week ago.
Although Fairbank and his teammates were beaten 40-12, the young loose-forward caught the eye with his non-stop, aggressive and no-nonsense approach, which has been a family trademark for several generations.
The son of former Keighley player Mark, Jacob’s uncles include ex-Great Britain and Bradford legend Karl, John (Leeds and Oldham) and Dick (Halifax), while grandfather Jack made a big name for himself at Leeds.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Jacob, who like the rest of the family came up through the ranks at top amateur club Elland, is making a name for himself. How could he not coming from stock like that!
But the level-headed youngster already knows he still has a lot of work ahead of him to match the exploits of some of his illustrious older relatives.
“Like a lot of my family, I’d love to make it in the game,” said Jacob.
“Before starting full-time training late last year I was working as a joiner, and even though I’ve only been a professional rugby league players for a few months I know this is what I want to do for as many years as possible.
“Whether that happens is obviously down to me, but I already love doing this and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, I know that, but I’m determined to be the next member of the family to enjoy success in the sport.
“At the Giants, I think I’m at the best place to be.”
Fairbank earned a three-year full-time deal last September on the back of being named the Giants’ Academy Player of the Year in 2008 and then being the cornerstone of the successful Reserve team pack last season.
He was also handed the contract after he had just returned from a Great Britain Community Lions tour of Australia.
Fairbank knows playing in Super League would be a far greater achievement, and with his confidence at an all-time high he does believe it’s a realistic aim.
“I can’t believe how much I’ve developed in the relatively short time I’ve been training full-time,” he added.
“I’m learning with every session and now feel comfortable working at this level. I’m also putting size on all the time – I’m up to 97kg and hope to get up to 100 eventually – but I’m still managing to feel fitter, as well as stronger.
“At the moment, my preferred position is still probably loose-forward, but the coaching staff have got me down as a prop, that’s why they’re keen for me to put the weight on.
“To be honest, I’m perfectly happy about that. If they feel my future is at prop, I’m more than happy about that, especially if it means it gives me more of a chance to break into the first team.
“I know that’s still a little further down the track, but I am feeling pretty confident about things at the moment.
“I was relatively happy with the way I played at Batley last week.
“I did, of course, play loose-forward that day and my fitness felt good. In fact, I would have liked to have played more time!
“And what was the best thing about that was that the coaching staff were pleased with the way I played and they told me I was going to be in the squad to face Halifax tomorrow, if it had gone ahead.
“I was obviously gutted when we found out it was off.
“But the fact I’d been included was another step in the right direction, and I just hope it’s not long before I’m part of a first-team squad once again – and can get a game!”