Zak Hardaker has admitted that he thought his international career could have been on the line following his recent disciplinary issues.
The Leeds Rhinos full-back was hit with a five-game ban after being found guilty of aiming homophobic comments at referee James Child, during his club’s recent game with Warrington.
“A stupid comment comes out and it could ruin your career,” he said.
“I was like Jesus what’s happened here – everyone was going mad about it.
“I didn’t realise how bad it was at the time. Obviously the thought was going through my head then, am I going to get banned, how many games will I miss?
“It was a case of do I get to miss England again or is he going to stick with me?
“All those things were going through my head. The last week was a bit troublesome, my head was all over the place and I didn’t know what to expect.”
“But a day or two after the investigation started Steve texted me and I was under no illusion that he’d be right by my side,” Hardaker explained.
“You can’t get more comforting than an international coach saying that to you, so that really sparked me on and made me feel happy about myself.
“I went to the tribunal and got five games which wasn’t very good, but on the bright side I will be even more to get back on the field and the backing from Steve Mac is brilliant.”