HUDDERSFIELD Giants have begun the search for a replacement for Australian hooker George Gatis.

The popular player returned to his native Australia earlier this week for personal reasons and has left a big gap in the club’s Super League squad.

But club officials have confirmed they are keen to plug it if the right man comes along, although they won’t to be rushed.

“Looking for players who would enhance the quality of our squad is an on-going process,” said Giants football manager Stuart Sheard.

“But obviously following the unfortunate departure of George that search will intensify.

“To be honest, there isn’t that much around at the moment, but if a player of quality does become available we will definitely be talking to them.

“And I should also add we wouldn’t necessarily be looking for another hooker, which was George’s position.

“We’ve all been impressed with the way Tom Hemingway has been playing in his new position at nine.

“He was excellent against Halifax in the Challenge Cup last week and this really could be the time for him to finally establish himself in the senior side.”

Last season, the Giants struck lucky with a mid-season signing from Australia when Rod Jensen arrived from North Queensland Cowboys.

And the likes of Stanley Gene was also recruited – from Hull – in the middle of a season