Leeds welcome back Zak Hardaker for visit of former club Wigan

Zak Hardaker Leeds Rhinos
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Leeds have been boosted by the return of Zak Hardaker, who on Thursday will face his former club Wigan for the first time since leaving.

The 30-year-old left the Warriors back in April to pursue opportunities closer to his family base in West Yorkshire. Subsequently, Hardaker returned to his former club Leeds.

Hardaker has impressed upon his return to the Rhinos. He will face Wigan for the first time since his exit in Thursday night’s televised clash at Headingley.

The Rhinos will also welcome back Liam Sutcliffe, Harry Newman and Muizz Mustapha for the visit of Wigan, who enter the game on the back of a 60-0 demolition of Hull last week.

Turkey international Yusuf Aydin could make his debut for Leeds. He joined the club on loan from fellow Super League side Wakefield last week.

Baby Rhinos Sam Walters and Max Simpson have been ruled out of the game with injuries. Zane Tetevano, Tom Holroyd and Matt Prior are still suspended.

Rhinos coach Rohan Smith has named an initial 20-man squad. He has the option to recall Jamaica World Cup hopeful Levi Edwards from his loan at York but this will only be done in the need of emergency cover.


Wigan to hand Mike Cooper debut

Meanwhile, Wigan could hand a debut to prop Mike Cooper. The England international made the immediate switch from rivals Warrington earlier this week.

Cooper, 33, has joined the Warriors on a deal until the end of the next season. The club have the option of a further 12 months.

Leeds: Fusitu’a, Newman, Sutcliffe, Handley, Oledzki, Bentley, Martin, Dwyer, Myler, Smith, Thompson, Gannon, O’Connor, Donaldson, Johnson, Mustapha, Tindall, Sinfield, Zak Hardaker, Aydin.

Wigan: French, Bibby, Marshall, Cust, Powell, Mago, Isa, Farrell, Smithies, Ellis, Smith, Partington, Havard, Byrne, Pearce-Paul, Shorrocks, Field, Miski, Halsall, O’Neill, Cooper.

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About Drew Darbyshire 8157 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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