Zak Hardaker enjoying linking up with Jamie Jones-Buchanan again

Drew Darbyshire
Zak Hardaker Leeds Rhinos PA

Zak Hardaker and Jamie Jones-Buchanan in action for Leeds Rhinos together in 2011

Zak Hardaker says it has been great to work under Leeds interim coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who he used to play alongside for the Rhinos.

Hardaker, 30, has returned to Headingley on a deal until the end of the season following his release from Wigan last week.

The England international scored 67 tries in 155 games for the Rhinos during his first stint between 2011-17

Hardaker, who won the Man of Steel whilst with Leeds in 2015, says it was great to link up with former team-mate Jones-Buchanan again.

Speaking to the club’s YouTube channel, Hardaker said: “He has been great. Watching Jonesy from afar transition from an assistant to a head coach, he can probably say it is not the easiest job in the world.

“But just listening to what some of the boys were saying in the meeting today, they’ve improved in the last four to six weeks. Jonesy has been taking care of that the last couple of weeks, so it shows he has probably been doing something right.

“We were doing some games and stuff in the team meeting which galvanises the team; and gets us thinking outside the box.

“From just speaking the lads, they said it has been good and it is all set for the new coach to come this week or next week. It has been great, it has been good to see the faces.”

Zak Hardaker on second Leeds debut

Hardaker confirmed that he is ready to make his second debut for Leeds. The Rhinos take on Hull KR in Super League at Headingley on Friday night.

He added: “I’ve got no injuries, so it is just a case of if I get picked.

“I said to Jonesy I’m available if picked. It has been good to get on the training pitch, get the ball between my hands and play in a different way and a different system but I’ll soon pick up on that. We’ll go from there and see if I play on Friday.”

Hardaker won four Super League Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and a League Leaders’ Shield during his first spell with Leeds.

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