Huddersfield Giants are delighted to announce that England Academy Under 18 International centre Jacob Wardle will join his brother Joe in next year’s 2016 full-time squad.
The 16-year-old played in both England Youth Internationals this year against the French and was described by Giants head coach Paul Anderson as “the best outside back on view” and was actively pursued by a number of top-end Super League clubs. Wardle is a product of Illingworth Amateur Rugby League Club.
Giants Managing Director Richard Thewlis paid tribute to both Wardle and his club’s development systems when speaking to the club’s official website.
“Jacob has come through our Scholarship system at the Giants right from the start and it’s a credit to himself and his coaches that he emerged at the end of Scholarship age as probably the most sought after youngster in the game,” he said.
“I am delighted that he has remained a Giant and much of the credit for that goes to Andy Kelly and his team. The system here encourages elite Rugby League alongside education and it’s clear from my feedback that the parents of the younger players are very happy with our offering. In Jacob’s situation he has already trained at the back end of the year with the first grade squad and that situation will continue for him where practicable. He will be new into the Under 19 team next year alongside the signings we announced a few weeks back and his three-year term of contract gives him every opportunity to develop into a Super League player.”
Head of Youth Andy Kelly commented: “The system put in place by the RFL means that prior to signing their first professional contracts at a club players are allowed to meet, visit and receive offers from rival teams.
“To say Jacob had interest from other clubs would be an understatement! He most definitely had his pick of the best so to choose us ahead of the others has given myself and all here at the club a real boost. Obviously it helps with his brother having established himself here as a top flight professional – which is Jacob’s clear aim – and there is certainly some banter flying around when they train together in the first team environment.
“There are never any guarantees for young players in Rugby League but this lad is certainly one for whom we all have high hopes. He has already impressed in training with the England Academy Under 18 squad and his task now is very much head down and hard work in the off season period which will be his first as a professional.”