Huddersfield Giants have completed the signing of the Illawarra Cutters forward Shannon Wakeman on a two-year deal.
The 26-year-old makes the move to the John Smith’s Stadium, almost a month since League Express revealed that the Giants were closing in on his signature.
Wakeman was named in the Intrust Super Cup Team of the Year in 2016 following the Cutters’ Grand Final triumph when they defeated Burleigh Bears to claim the Intrust Super Championship.
Despite his impressive performances for the Cutters, Wakeman wasn’t offered an NRL deal by their parent club St George Illawarra Dragons and was linked with a move to North Queensland Cowboys as a replacement for veteran prop Ben Hannant.
He made over 100 appearances for the Cutters and was named as their player of the year in 2016, which sparked interest from Super League. Both Wakefield and Hull Kingston Rovers were among the clubs linked with the prop, but he has now joined Huddersfield to become their fifth signing after Jake Mamo’s arrival was announced on Tuesday.
“Obviously the move away by Craig (Huby) came a bit out of left field and left us searching for an established and experienced out and out front row forward,” said Giants head coach Rick Stone.
“I had already considered Shannon for further down the line for us but when our situation changed then Shannon was my go to guy to come across.
“I have seen plenty of him in action back home and he is a big mobile type of front rower and I know he wants a crack at the top flight which is something I am pleased we can give him. He is at the stage of his career now where if he is going to make the big breakthrough then he needs an opportunity and a start – we can provide both for him and I am quietly confident that he can bring a lot to our squad. He is a big man around 6’2 and as you’ll have seen from his highlights clips he can motor a bit.”
Wakeman added: “I am happy to have a new challenge overseas and in the Super League at Huddersfield. I’ll be teaming up again with my front row partner Sebastine Ikahihifo who played last year with us for a while before he moved to the UK so it’ll be good to have a familiar face when I get there.
“I’ll spend Christmas here in Australia and then as soon as my documentation comes through I’ll be straight across and ready to rip in for the Giants. I’ve wanted a crack full time in the top grade for a long time now and reckon I’ve served my apprenticeship so the opportunity at Huddersfield is great for me and one that I want to make the most of.”