Rhinos make Man of Steel Hardaker available for transfer


Beleaguered Super League champions Leeds Rhinos have transfer listed Zak Hardaker, after the England international expressed a desire to play in the NRL.

Hardaker played a key role in Leeds' treble-winning 2015 campaign, which was recognised as he claimed the Super League Man of Steel award.

However, the Rhinos have endured a miserable time of things this season and sit bottom of Super League with three wins from 17 matches, having also made an early exit from the Challenge Cup.

Brian McDermott's men are now set to lose Hardaker, who has scored 67 tries in 154 appearances for Leeds since joining from Featherstone Rovers in 2011, providing another club can match the Rhinos' £300,000 valuation.

In a statement, Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: "We have agreed with Zak that the opportunity to continue his career at another club is in both parties best interests.

"Zak has established his credentials as a world-class player and at the age of 24 he has so much to look forward to. He has given great service to the Rhinos as a full-back, winger and centre and he will remain part of our squad until a transfer is agreed.

"I have no doubt he will continue to give his best as he always does."

Hardaker added: "I explained my desire to leave and test myself in the NRL to Gary several weeks ago and I am pleased the club is prepared to release me.

"I have had five great years here and have had so many wonderful times. I will continue to help the team whilst I am here but I am also excited with what the future may hold for me."

McDermott acknowledged Hardaker's impending departure will leave a void.

"Zak is a special talent and a fierce competitor who will do well wherever he plays," said the Rhinos coach.

"We won't be quite the same without him, but we've come to this decision and he will leave with our best wishes."