Huddersfield Giants have completed the signing of Newcastle Knights fullback Jake Mamo, in a deal that will see Joe Wardle move to the NRL club.
In what has been one of the longest-running transfer stories of the off-season, the two clubs finally came to an agreement on a player swap deal that allows Wardle to join the Knights a year earlier than previously agreed.
The Scotland international had already agreed to join the Knights in 2018, but the Giants agreed to release him from his contract to enable him to link up with Newcastle with immediate effect.
Mamo, 22, was Rick Stone’s number one transfer target following his arrival to the club midway through the 2016 season. Having missed out on the signing of Zak Hardaker, Mamo’s arrival became imperative, with the club’s other fullbacks, Scott Grix and Jake Connor, departing to Super League rivals Wakefield and Hull FC respectively.
After a number of issues in sorting the deal, Huddersfield have now completed a deal for Mamo on a two-year deal, making him the Giants’ fourth signing, following the Bradford trio of Lee Gaskell, Dale Ferguson and Paul Clough.
“I have worked with Jake for the last few years and I know what he is about and to have him coming to the Giants for the next few years is a great boost,” said Stone.
“Jake is an explosive quality, who brings plenty to the table offensively. He’s courageous, fit and really quick. I’m sure the crowd are going to really enjoy watching him play and hopefully he will score plenty of tries for the Giants in the next couple of years.
“Jake’s just finishing three years of first-grade experience with the Newcastle Knights, he’s one of the real upcoming players in the NRL and as we have all seen on a couple of highlights footage, Jake can do some really spectacular things. I’m sure first of all that he is going to enjoy his time in Huddersfield and become a really valuable member of our team and hopefully lift us up the table in 2017.”
Mamo added: “I’m really excited to be joining the Giants. It’s a new experience for me coming over to England, as I have only ever lived at home, but I’m excited by the opportunity and can’t wait to get started.
“The move has been in the works for a while now, so it’s a relief to have it sorted. I’ve known Rick since I was 18 and have been coached by him before and we’ve always got on well, so it’s good to join back up with him.
“I feel like I’m ready for a new challenge in my career and I think coming over to England will be good for me. I’m injured at the moment but once I’m fit and back in training, I’m keen to cement that full-back position as my own.”
Meanwhile, Wardle becomes the ninth player to leave Huddersfield after a disappointing 2016 campaign. The 25-year-old made his debut in 2011 and made over 100 appearances for the club.
Speaking about the deal, the Giants managing director, Richard Thewlis said: “We thank the Newcastle Knights for assisting hugely in making this deal work for ourselves and Jake.
“From our side though to be able to finally get the ink dry on Stoney’s preferred priority signing is great news. This has been some months in the making and patience and perseverance has proved to be the best policy for us on this one.
“We can now work on the visa process which given the Christmas break will be slightly longer than usual, however, the Knights have agreed to continue to train Jake until we can get him into the UK and should Joe choose to move on then we too will do likewise for him.”