Zak Hardaker explains story behind Leeds Rhinos move

Zak Hardaker

Zak Hardaker has described how the move to Leeds came about following his release from Wigan.

The 30-year-old joined Wigan in May 2018. He was released last week from his contract to return to his family base in Yorkshire and pursue career opportunities closer to home.

That destination this morning has been revealed as Leeds, signing a deal for the remainder of the 2022 Super League campaign.

Hardaker did ask for a release during the off-season, wanting to return to Yorkshire closer to his family.

He returns to Headingley Stadium where he made 115 appearances between 2011 and 2016. The England international won four Grand Finals, two Challenge Cup and a League Leaders’ Shield. He scored 67 tries and won the Man of Steel award in 2015.

Zak Hardaker discusses Leeds move

Hardaker said: “When I left Wigan, I wasn’t thinking of any specific club to go to but just wanted to get back to Yorkshire and see what happened from there.

“Gary (Hetherington) spoke to my agent and I went to meet him. He brought me up to speed with where the team is at and my focus is on playing well this year for the boys and enjoying my rugby.

“It is a very talented squad, albeit with injuries to key players at the moment. After our history together, I was surprised and overwhelmed when Leeds came calling. I want to make the most of this opportunity. I think it is a deal that works well for everyone concerned.”

Hardaker: ‘The way I left Wigan wasn’t the way I wanted to leave the club’

He continued: “The way I left Wigan wasn’t the way I wanted to leave the club. But I would like to thank everyone there for the opportunity to play for Wigan. This started last year when I wanted to get a chance to come home back to Yorkshire with my family.

“I have got that opportunity thankfully with Leeds. I can’t wait to play in those Friday night games in front of a packed South Stand again. It is definitely a case of ‘you don’t realise what you’ve got until it’s gone’ and I think I let my time at the Rhinos the first time pass me by.

“Even as an away player it is special to play at Headingley. I am really keen to get going as soon as possible now.

“In the short term I need to get to know the boys, play in as many games as I can and show what I can do for the Rhinos.”

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About Josh McAllister 1337 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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