Zak Hardaker identifies Catalans’ threats including key forward ahead of play-off clash

Josh McAllister
Zak Hardaker Leeds Rhinos SWpix

Zak Hardaker in Leeds training | Photo: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix

Leeds utility Zak Hardaker has highlighted forward Sam Kasiano as one of Catalans’ danger men ahead of their Super League play-off tie. 

The Rhinos travel to Perpignan for Friday’s all or nothing tie against Steve McNamara’s Dragons after the RFL confirmed that all fixtures this weekend will go ahead as planned.

Hardaker, 30, discussed his opposition’s forward pack as a major threat, mentioning former New Zealand and Samoa international Kasiano.

Rohan Smith’s Leeds most recently fell to a 32-18 away defeat to Catalans in August, while they claimed an impressive 36-32 comeback in July.

“The start is critical and all the boys know that,” Hardaker said.

“It’s going to be a tough game. A couple of times we’ve been there and we’re all looking forward to it. It’s a big challenge but one we’re all up for.

“They’ve got some big bodies. Sam Kasiano being one who tore us to shreds a little bit a couple of weeks ago. 

“They’ve got threats all over the park. But the pack is a big indicator for them if they’re going well. If we can nullify that and start really well. 

“It’s just important to start really well. It’s a long day but we’re kind of getting used to that, sticking around the hotel for a couple of hours before and stuff like that.

“All the bodies are quite fresh after a big game against Castleford. We’re looking forward to getting over there and getting the job done.”

Zak Hardaker milestone & goal-kicking duties

Hardaker will make his 250th Super League appearance, while he is also set to take over kicking duties following the suspension to Rhyse Martin.

“It’s great to play that many games and back at the club where it all started,” Hardaker added.

“To have a big occasion at Catalans in the quarter-finals, it’s a big game. Stats and stuff like that, I don’t look too much into it, it’s just important for us to go over to Catalans and get the win.”

On goal-kicking, he continued: “I think I’ll be taking responsibility. I’ve been kicking fairly well this year, even when I was at Wigan.

“I’m pretty confident with the kicking. It’s one of those where you keep your head down and give it a good boot.

“If the boys can score under the posts, it makes it a little bit easier. It doesn’t matter if we win by one or 40, as long as we get the job done then happy days.”

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