Paper Talk: Hardaker wants change, Ikahihifo motivated at Huddersfield, dual-reg links terminated

There is a lot of news in the latest trade papers with the new Super League season just around the corner.

Hardaker aims to change in 2019

Zak Hardaker admits it may take years for the rugby league public to ever believe he is a reformed character after his struggles with cocaine and alcohol, ADHD and his subsequent rehabilitation process in the Sporting Chance clinic, report League Express.

Hardaker is set to return this weekend first the first time since testing positive for cocaine in September 2017. After joining the Warriors in pre-season, he was arrested for drink driving. Hardaker admitted he didn’t know how to address his issues, he told League Express: “I’d reached a moment where people around me, and myself, realised I needed to do something to change my life, not just my career. You think you know everything about yourself, but when you’re in a place like that, it helps you to re-assess. I’ve apologised on many occasions, which isn’t enough, and I just didn’t know what to do anymore when things went wrong again, so I had to accept that I needed help. It was a big ask for a 27-year-old bloke to break down and admit I needed some help. It might take another five years for me to not do anything, and people will think I’ve actually turned a corner.”

Radford sets sights on Grand Final

Lee Radford admits he’s ‘working to put food on the table’ as he enters the final year of his Hull FC contract, report League Weekly.

Talks have yet to start over a new deal, but will no doubt get one if he reaches his goal for 2019 – to win the club its first Grand Final. He told League Weekly: “All the staff are off contract this year and 50% of the squad are off-contract this year as well, so everybody’s working to put food on the table. I want to win things, I haven’t won a Grand Final and I want that.”

Two dual-registration links terminated

Hull Kingston Rovers’ dual-registration partnership with York City Knights has been severed, as has Sheffield Eagles’ link with St Helens, report League Express.

Hull KR and York will not be continuing their partnership, which saw the Knights feature several Robins’ players throughout last season. Sheffield coach Mark Aston told League Express: “The dual-reg with St Helens won’t be happening this year. They were very good with us in 2018 and we thank them for that.” Swinton Lions and Wigan Warriors are expected to renew their partnership for this year.

Ikahihifo using transfer saga as motivation

Sebastine Ikahihifo has revealed he’s using off-season uncertainty over his Huddersfield future as motivation to bag a starting spot, report League Weekly.

The 27-year-old was heavily linked with a move away from the Giants this off-season, but it now looks like he will stay at the club. He told League Weekly: “It’s a fresh start, everyone at the club has been really good to me. I’m even more ready [to get going] with what’s been happening in pre-season. It was a distraction but it’s more like a motivation now.”

Lawton’s time at Salford interrupted

Salford Red Devils have been unable to register new signing Adam Lawton after failing to get international clearance following his time in Australia, report League Express.

The former Widnes Vikings forward didn’t feature in Salford’s pre-season win over Swinton Lions on Saturday, and League Express has learned because it is due to an ongoing issue with his former club, Redcliffe Dolphins. Salford were only made aware of the situation in recent weeks, long after they had thought they had secured his arrival at the club. The Red Devils are working hard to get it sorted before the start of the season.

Clarkson urges youngsters to have Plan B

Chris Clarkson is urging rising Super League stars to make sure they’ve got a Plan B – after finding out first-hand how quickly the real world can come knocking, report League Weekly.

The two-time Grand Final winner is currently without a contract for the upcoming season, but that could change if he impresses during his month-long trial with Castleford Tigers. The former Leeds and Hull KR back-rower has a trade to fall back on though. He told League Weekly: “Thankfully, I’ve got a bricklaying apprenticeship. I did that for three years after I finished school, while I was with the Leeds academy. My dad is a builder, and straight from leaving school he drilled into me that I needed a trade. I can’t stress to them [young players] enough that it’s important to get something you can fall straight into after rugby league, if things don’t go your way.”

Support rugby league in the media and subscribe to League Express or League Weekly, as well as checking out the regular coverage of the sport in The Mirror, The Sun, The Guardian and other national newspapers; the more you read, the more there’ll be.

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