HUDDERSFIELD Giants have played down reports of a planned swoop for Wakefield’s Aussie ace Ben Jeffries.
Sources suggest the Galpharm club are battling with Penrith Panthers and Super League rivals Hull, Harlequins and Wigan for the signature of the half-back, who has been released from his Wildcats contract.
The 26-year-old former Australian Schoolboys scrum half had spells with Newcastle Knights, St George Illawara Dragons and Wests Tigers before signing for Wakefield for the 2002 season.
His explosive running and tactical kicking have helped make him a key player at Belle Vue, but this season will be his last there.
Jeffries has been in fine form.
His astute kicks led to all three Wakefield tries in the recent West Yorkshire derby at Belle Vue, which the Giants edged 24-23.
And he was a stand-out performer on Friday as Wakefield, four places and two points above the Giants in fifth, won 23-16 at Leeds.
But the Wildcats have agreed not to hold him to a two-year deal.
Former Huddersfield coach John Kear recently snapped up highly-rated French international half-back Maxime Greseque, and there are also rumours of a deal to bring back Danny Brough from Castleford for the 2008 campaign.
Belle Vue has been a fertile recruiting ground for the Giants, with forwards Steve Snitch and Darrell Griffin the latest to move.
But according to football manager Stuart Sheard, there are no plans to make Jeffries the next to arrive.
“We’re aware of Ben, but his name has not cropped up with regard to next season,” reported Sheard. “It seems Penrith are favourites.”