Hardaker joins Castleford in initial loan move

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Leeds Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker will spend the 2017 Super League season on loan at Castleford Tigers for an undisclosed fee.

The 2015 Man of Steel played part of the previous campaign on loan at NRL side Penrith Panthers, where he made 11 appearances.

But Hardaker, who has featured 155 times for the Rhinos, scoring 67 tries and 45 goals, will make a temporary switch to the Tigers, who have an option to complete a full transfer from November 2017 for a pre-arranged fee.

Castleford head coach Daryl Powell said in a statement: "I am delighted that Zak has decided to sign for the Tigers. [In 2015] he was the Man of Steel and there is no doubt he is an outstanding rugby league player.

"His flexibility in playing a number of positions in the backline will clearly enhance what is already a very talented squad and add quality competition.

"I have worked with Zak in the past and look forward to seeing him enhance his own reputation as a rugby league player and get back into the England team as a Castleford Tigers player."

Leeds will be unable to recall Hardaker, who will also be eligible to play against them next season.

Castleford were on the hunt for a new full-back following the retirement of Luke Dorn.