No need for Rankin replacement: Titans
Together they were the kid facing the dreaded second-year syndrome and a talent seeking yet another second chance, but in the space of 12 months Aidan Sezer and Albert Kelly have earned the complete faith of the Titans coaching staff and playing roster.
The pair combined for a total of 25 try assists in 2013 and with a full pre-season to further work on their combinations, coach John Cartwright is confident they are the long-term halves pairing for his side.
The Titans will soon farewell one of their options in the halves with five-eighth/fullback Jordan Rankin granted a release to join Hull FC in the English Super League on a two-year deal but Cartwright said he has no inclination to go looking for replacement, comfortable that he has the playing stock to cover the loss of Rankin.
"I don't think we need to, I think we're pretty well sorted in the halves," Cartwright said. "We've got some guys coming through and coming off injury who didn't play a lot last year in Jamal Fogarty and Beau Henry. Ashley Harrison filled in a bit there, William Zillman can play there so it's probably not an area where we need to fix straight away.
"All things being equal Kelly and Sezer finished the year in great form so they'll get the jump on it but outside that we do have Zillman and with Henry and Fogarty both coming off injuries they'll be fresh and ready to go.
"Salary-cap wise we're pretty chock-full so it's nothing we can do top-tier, as is the case with most clubs at this stage of the year. The money's spent but we're pretty comfortable with where we are."
Rankin shot to prominence when he made his NRL debut for the Titans as a 16-year-old in 2008 but with only 16 further appearances in the top grade to his name in the years since, he recognised it was time to re-establish himself elsewhere – not ruling out a return to the NRL in future.
"Alby had a great season last year, there's no doubt about that at all, 'Zilly' [William Zillman] is vice-captain and one of the best fullbacks in the game and Aidan's obviously proved himself over the past couple of years of how good he can be," Rankin said.
"It was just opportunity. It's an opportunity for me to go over there and make a name for myself. I'm young enough to go over there and hopefully make a name for myself and see where it goes. I could find myself back in the NRL in a couple of years' time or have a long career in the Super League. You never know what time will do to you so I'm going to try to take every opportunity I can over there with two hands."
A tour with the AIS team in 2009 gave Rankin an insight into the type of conditions he can expect in the north of England and good friend and former Wests Tiger Jacob Miller has brought him up to speed on the reception he can expect in Hull.
"He said they're pretty full-on with the supporters they've got," the 21-year-old said. "One side is red and white and the other side is black and white so that's going to be a little bit scary come derby time but he said they're all for it.
"They're massive on their footy and it's pretty similar to the Gold Coast. We're very passionate here about the Titans and the supporters are as well and hopefully they welcome me with open arms."