Former Super League ace Jordan Rankin has confirmed that he will retire this weekend, and take up a new coaching role in the youth setup at Parramatta Eels.
Born in Bolton, Australia, the now 31-year-old became the NRL’s youngest ever debutant when he made his bow for the Gold Coast Titans at just 16 years and 238 days against Newcastle Knights.
He would go on to represent Hull FC, Huddersfield Giants and Castleford Tigers in Super League. Along with two run outs on dual registration for then-Championship outfit Doncaster in 2015, Rankin amassed 125 appearances in this country.
Returning down under in June 2020 amidst the fallout from the COVID-19 Pandemic, he linked up with Parramatta and has spent the last three years with the Eels to end his career.
Those three years have been spent playing second-grade in the New South Wales Cup, alongside beginning his coaching journey. This year, he has coached the under 19’s – known as the SG Ball team – at the club to a triumph in their respective league. From next season, he will make the move to head coach of the under 21 side.
Jordan Rankin announces retirement aged 31
The Eels confirmed Rankin’s retirement in a statement on their website earlier today. In the statement, Rankin looked ahead to the next stage of his career.
He said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in rugby league for so long. I’ve made lifelong friends and I’m very grateful to the game for the opportunities it has given me.
“I’m now completely focussed on my coaching role for Jersey Flegg and I’m looking forward to using my experience to help the next generation of young Eels players achieve their dreams of playing in the NRL one day.”
Meanwhile, Parramatta’s General Manager Mark O’Neill added: “Jordan has enjoyed a great playing career and is ready to move into the next stage of his life with our Club.
“His experience and relationship with our young players will be a wonderful asset for his coaching role and we look forward to supporting him through it.”
Rankin calls time on career
Across his 16-year career, Rankin has featured in various positions. Full-back has been the most predominant, though he’s also appeared in the halves and on the wing.
His final appearance in the game will come this weekend against Penrith Panthers in the NSW Cup.
The 31-year-old – who also featured in his homeland for Wests Tigers – will be fondly remembered by Cas fans for his man of the match performance in their 2019 play-off elimination final win against Warrington Wolves.