Huddersfield Giants are “confident” of agreeing a longer-term deal with Jordan Rankin.
And a major part of that feelgood factor is the 25-year-old utility back is keen to stay at the John Smith’s Stadium when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
That’s the view of head coach Rick Stone as he prepares his injury-troubled squad for Friday’s Super 8s trip to Challenge Cup finalists Hull FC.
“We are getting there (in talks with Rankin) and we are confident we can get that done,” explained Stone, who will almost certainly be without skipper Leroy Cudjoe (ankle) at the KCOM Stadium.
“Negotiations have been going on for a little bit now and we can see him being a long-term player at our club.
“He wants to be here, which is a good start usually, and he is a versatile player with the positions he can play.
“The boys enjoy his company, he is good for our culture and there are a lot of pluses with Jordan. He wasn’t originally budgeted in our cap for next year, which makes it a little bit tougher, but we are hopeful of still getting it done.”
Gold Coast-born Rankin, a former Wests Tigers player who was a free agent when he joined in June, has impressed at full back in the absence of foot-injury victim Jake Mamo.
Stone denies it will be a problem to slot Rankin into the line-up when star man Mamo is available again.
“It’s not a problem,” said the head coach.
“A player who can play that many positions (like Rankin) has to be good for the team.
“If and when we can get him sorted (in terms of a new deal) we will worry about what position he will play and what we think is best.”
On the squad as a whole, Stone added: “We still have a bit of sorting out to do with next year’s roster (on a few contracts), but our team will probably not change too much from what we have here at the moment.
“There are a few things we are trying to get sorted, but first of all I just think everyone is hungry to play as many games as they can and do as well as they can to the end of the season.”
Ollie Roberts (hamstring), Dale Ferguson (shoulder) and Sam Rapira (ribs) are all being put through their paces in training with a hope of making the trip to Hull, but Stone says they are all 50-50.