Wigan have signed Swinton centre Chris Hankinson with immediate effect for an undisclosed fee on a deal until 2020, with the option of a further year.
The 24-year-old has already met his new teammates and could make his debut in Thursday’s clash with St Helens.
As part of the agreement between dual-registration partners Wigan and Swinton, Warriors starlets Joe Brown, Craig Mullen and Macauley Davies will join the Lions on loan for the rest of the season, including Championship Shield fixtures.
Hankinson made 51 appearances for the Lions, scoring 14 tries and kicking 84 goals.
On his move to Wigan, Hankinson said: “I’m absolutely made up with signing for the team I’ve grown up watching as a kid. I can’t wait to get stuck in and a do a job for the club. It will be a great story to tell.
“I want to thank Swinton for their help and the support they’ve given me, especially Stuart Littler, Andy Mazey and Dave Peet for allowing me to take this opportunity with Wigan.
“I wish to thank everyone at Swinton for the help and support they’ve given me, especially Stuart Littler who has helped me develop my game and Andy Mazey who since coming onboard last year as chairman has been a breath of fresh air for the club.
“I’d like to thank the club for allowing me to take this fantastic opportunity, while excited by the challenge that awaits, I just want to wish Swinton and the Lions supporters all the best for the future.”
Warriors executive director, Kris Radlinski, said: “Chris is a player who we’ve been impressed with for some time. He is a dynamic centre; possesses good footwork and is a danger with ball in hand.
“He’s developed under the stewardship of Stuart Littler at Swinton and we believe that he’ll come into our environment and flourish. Chris is keen to progress his career at this level and we believe he’ll add quality to our backline options. Our thanks must go to Swinton Chairman Andy Mazey and Head Coach Stuart Littler, who have been co-operative throughout this process and it’s another example of how strong the Wigan-Swinton relationship is.
“This hasn’t been a rushed decision, as we’ve been impressed with Chris’ ability when we’ve been tracking our own players in the Swinton set-up this year. Chris will be a great addition to the group and we’re looking forward to seeing him contribute in the Cherry & White very soon.”
Lions chairman, Andy Mazey, added: “While nobody wants to see quality players leave, as soon as it became clear Chris wished to talk to Wigan, it was my job to ensure we secured the best possible deal for Swinton Lions.
“After consulting the board we came to a decision to accept a very strong and lucrative offer from Wigan Warriors for the transfer of Chris.
“We have rejected a number of approaches from Super League and full-time Championship clubs for Chris over the last few months and had absolutely no intention of letting him go this year unless the right deal came along.
“While looking after Swinton Lions best interests at all times, we wanted to do the right by Chris and his family and this deal is financially beneficial to Swinton and gives Stuart greater options going into the split, with the added bonus of serving to strengthen our relationship with the Wigan club.”