Hardaker signs new Leeds deal

Published: Friday 3rd July 2015 by The News Editor

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Leeds have received a boost ahead of Friday night’s Super League table-topping clash with St Helens with the news that England international Zak Hardaker has agreed a new four-year contract with the club.

The 23-year-old, who has made 124 appearances for the Rhinos since joining them from Featherstone in 2011, has pledged his allegiance to the club until at least the end of the 2019 season.

The announcement finally ends any lingering doubt over Hardaker’s future with the league leaders and Challenge Cup holders.

He was issued with a warning by Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington two years ago after being thrown out of England’s World Cup squad and earlier this year was fined and ordered to do 20 hours of voluntary work and attend an anger management course following an arrest for assault.

Leeds coach Brian McDermott said: “I am really pleased for Zak himself that he has agreed this new contract and committed his future to the club and our competition.

“Zak has had some well-publicised ups and downs in his career but there is no doubting his ability on the field. His work ethic and commitment on and off the field this season can not be questioned and I think over the next few years he will mature into a world-class player.

“It should not be underestimated how big an achievement it is by the club to keep the likes of Zak, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Joel Moon and Tom Briscoe at our club on long-term contracts.”

Hardaker has been in impressive form for his club this year and is expected to challenge Sam Tomkins strongly for the full-back spot when England host New Zealand in a three-match Test series in the autumn.

“I am really pleased to have signed the new deal,” Hardaker said. “I would like to say thank you to Gary Hetherington for the faith he has shown in me and also the club’s supporters, especially our members who every year show their support for the team and certainly were a big part in why I have committed my future to the club.

“Over the last decade, the fans have been used to a team that grew up together with Kevin Sinfield, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Obviously things are going to change over the next few years but there is a group of young players here now who want to follow in their footsteps and make our own history here with the Rhinos.

“It is a really exciting time to be at the club and I am looking forward to the future and achieving more success over the years ahead.”

Leeds are expecting their biggest crowd of the season for Friday night’s match.

Published: Friday 3rd July 2015 by The News Editor

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