A car share is easier: Zak Hardaker explains travel u-turn after Leigh deal

Josh McAllister
Zak Hardaker Leeds Rhinos

Zak Hardaker with Leeds team-mate James Bentley

Zak Hardaker insists a car share will help with the journey from Yorkshire to Leigh following his two-year deal with the newly-rebranded Leopards. 

The 31-year-old was present at a in-person press conference at the Leigh Sports Village on Thursday, wearing the new colours of the club.

Hardaker, a six-time England international, returned to Headingley Stadium from Wigan midway through the 2022 campaign.

He admitted that he expected comments from fans following his move to Leigh, having originally left Wigan to be closer to his family base in Yorkshire.  

“When I first spoke to Leigh, I mentioned the travel,” Hardaker said. 

“Look I can take a lot of stick and I knew it was going to come as soon as it was announced. 

“Fortunately, I think there’s four travelling from Yorkshire, so we’re definitely car-sharing. Tom Briscoe is one, I think Joe Wardle is another and Ben Reynolds is from my neck of the woods in Castleford. 

“There’s definitely a car share there which is definitely easier than travelling on your own.”

Zak Hardaker: I’m getting a two-year contract at 31

Hardaker admits the travel will still be a challenge. However, Leigh’s two-year option was another factor that attracted the outside-back to the club.

He revealed that Leeds had only offered him an extended 12-months deal, and a contract that he believed undervalued him. 

“It still will be challenging at times, like it was the first time travelling to Wigan,” Hardaker continued. “But when you do it with four other lads, it’s going to be a lot easier.

“The second bit on that is, I’m getting a two-year contract at 31. That just helps me sort my planning out for my future and my family. 

“Obviously the club I wanted to stay at was Leeds at the time, but unfortunately the deal couldn’t get done. 

“But, with Leigh being 20 minutes from Wigan, everyone’s going to jump on that bandwagon. 

“I wasn’t settled at Wigan, I wanted to move back to Yorkshire. I moved back, I got settled and I’m still going to be living in Yorkshire, so that settlement is pretty good.”

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