McDermott: Hardaker probe not ideal

Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Leeds coach Brian McDermott admitted the police investigation into full-back Zak Hardaker had disrupted his team’s preparations for their Super League match at Warrington as they surrendered their 100 per cent record with an 18-6 defeat.

Hardaker was withdrawn from McDermott’s team after it emerged that he was the subject of a police probe into an alleged assault, with teenager Ashton Golding thrown in at the deep end for his full debut.

“It’s not been ideal,” McDermott said. “It’s not something you would or should have to deal with. But what we did have was 17 very committed men.”

England international Hardaker is facing an uncertain future.

“We are conducting our own internal investigation while this is going on,” McDermott said.

Asked if Hardaker would be available for selection while the police investigation continues, McDermott said: “Not at this stage, no, but that will be something we will review.”

McDermott revealed that Golding discovered just 24 hours beforehand that he would be asked to step into Hardaker’s shoes.

“He didn’t have chance to do much with the ball because Warrington were too good defensively but he will have learnt some really good lessons,” McDermott said.

“For a young man to play Super League anyway is a big call but to play against a very good Warrington team who were on the money, he will wake up with bruises and stiff tomorrow.”

McDermott had no complaints after watching his team knocked off top spot with a fifth successive defeat at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

“I didn’t think we were too far off but, in some respects we were miles off,” he added. “We just didn’t seem to get a foothold in the game.

“Our attack was clearly not there but you’ve got to give the Warrington defence a lot of credit, they were really switched on. They shut down a lot of our early plays.”

Warrington established a stranglehold on the game with tries from Kevin Penny, Ryan Atkins and Stefan Ratchford, who also kicked three goals, and defended superbly to restrict their opponents to a solitary touchdown from winger Tom Briscoe.

“There was a little improvement in our kicking game, some improvement in our attack and a huge improvement in our defence,” said Wolves coach Tony Smith. “We were on it tonight.

“I thought Matty Russell was great and Daryl Clarke was a big contributor but we had a lot of good performers.”

Smith was forced to make a late change to his side, bringing in Chris Bridge to stand-off when half-back Gary Wheeler pulled out with a calf muscle tear.

“He strained it in the team run and had a scan on Friday afternoon, ” Smith said. “We thought he was going to play but we got the result of the scan and it’s a grade one tear.”

Published: Saturday 14th March 2015 by The News Editor

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