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17 July 2018
Swinton Lions have strengthened their squad with three loan signings ahead of the Championship Shield fixtures, as Chris Hankinson transfers to Wigan Warriors.
Swinton Lions can confirm an agreement has been reached with Wigan Warriors for the transfer of Chris Hankinson with immediate effect for an undisclosed fee.
As part of the agreement with the club’s dual-registration partners, three players with join up with the Lions’ squad – Joe Brown, Craig Mullen and Macauley Davies – on loan deals for the remainder of the 2018 season, including the Championship Shield fixtures.
There is also firm commitment in place for greater access to key dual-registration players identified by the Swinton coaching staff for the vital Shield fixtures coming up in August.
Centre Chris Hankinson joins the 19-time Challenge Cup winners after nearly 18 months at Heywood Road.
In his debut season, Hankinson was ever present playing in 31 matches for Lions, scoring eight tries and 32 goals.
The 24-year-old started out his career with Salford Red Devils, but joined Leigh in the hope of pushing for a first team place. As part of his development he joined Barrow on loan in League One, and quickly became one of that division’s outstanding players. As a result of those performances during 2016, Chris became a target for a number of Championship clubs, before choosing Swinton as his preferred destination.
Hankinson has continued his impressive form this season and recently hit two personal milestones for the club, making his 50th appearance for the Swinton against Dewsbury Rams, which came just a week after he had scored his 200th point during a clash against London Broncos.
Whilst Swinton Lions are saddened to see a player of Chris’ talents and hard-working attitude depart, the club does not wish to stand in the way of the player’s development and ambition, whilst at the same time negotiating a deal which works for all parties involved.
Following his move to the Warriors, Chris Hankinson expressed his gratitude to the club and its supporters, “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.”
On the news of Hankinson’s departure, Lions Chairman Andy Mazey said “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.
“We are no longer in a position that we need to look to sell our best players however in this instance it would have been wrong to stand in the way of a once in a lifetime opportunity for a player who is clearly ready to make the step up to Super League and return to full-time rugby league.
“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.
“The way this deal is structured works for all parties and is not only financially beneficial for us but has enabled Stuart to strengthen key areas of our playing squad which he had identified ahead of the month end transfer deadline. We believe this deal coupled with Rob Fairclough having joined from St Helens gives us a major boost ahead of the Championship Shield fixtures.
“I would like to wish Hank all the very best for his future and like with Chris Atkin last year, I’m sure our supporters will take great pride in watching his progress in Super League. I would also like to take time to thank Kris Radlinski, Shaun Wane and Matty Peet over at Wigan,all three guys have been very honest and respectful throughout numerous meetings, telephone calls and emails and we have worked in the true spirit of partnership to get the right deal for everyone concerned.”
Head Coach Stuart Littler I’m quite obviously sad to see a player of Chris Hankinson’s quality leave our club but at the same time we have been offered a great financial package which also involves several quality players coming our way for the remainder of the season. Adding numbers has been a focus for the past couple of weeks and we now look to have competition in every place within our squad.
Littler, who has coached Hankinson since his “I wish Chris all the best. He has been a credit to his family and himself throughout his time with us. Chris is a quality professional who will be always be welcomed back to Swinton.”
Chris Hankinson Swinton Stats
Games: 51 Tries: 14 Goals: 84 Drop-Goals: 1 Points: 225
As the club looks to secure its Championship status for the 2019 season, Swinton Head Coach Stuart Littler also expressed his delight at securing the services of Warriors’ fullbacks Joe Brown and Craig Mullen to complement the recent signature of Macauley Davies and improve the squad ahead of the Championship Shield fixtures.
“I’m delighted to announce the loan signings of Craig Mullen and Joe Brown. Craig can competently cover any position across the back line and is a very exciting attacking player. He is a very likeable member of our squad and will add quality for the remainder of the season.
“Joe Brown has been great for us, there are not a lot of wingers available at the moment and I feel Joe has a very promising future. He’s young but very keen to learn and develop. Every week he challenges himself to be better and that is a great attitude to have. I am looking forward to working consistently with Joe on a professional level.”
“I’d like to also thank our dual partners Wigan for all their help throughout the season and their helpfulness in getting this deal done in a way which benefits both partners. We look forward to further development of our partnership and we wish them well with their future. Special mention also for our Chairman, who has also worked tirelessly supporting these deals so I also must thank him and the Swinton board for their continued support.”
From everyone at Swinton Lions, we thank Chris for his service to the club and wish him every success in his next career move at Wigan Warriors.