Exclusive: Blake Austin gives verdict on Zak Hardaker at Leeds Rhinos

Zak Hardaker just about shocked everyone when he signed for Leeds Rhinos – six years after his exit from Headingley.

In that time, the fullback or centre has joined Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors before reuniting with the club that gave him his Super League shot over a decade ago.

Hardaker quickly established himself as one of the best defensive fullbacks the league has ever seen, whilst his attacking play came more to the fore at Castleford.

At Wigan, however, the 30-year-old was limited by being at centre and wing for most of his time at the DW Stadium as Adrian Lam and then Matty Peet favoured the likes of Bevan French and Jai Field at fullback.

However, it looks as though Hardaker will nail down a fullback spot in the Rhinos side under new boss Rohan Smith and his teammate, Blake Austin, has lavished praise on him.

“It’s been great to have Zak join,” Austin told Serious About Rugby League.

“He’s a quality player and he adds some comfort when you look around the changing room before a match.”

Austin was also quick to give his verdict on new head coach Smith.

“Rohan came with a great reputation, I was told great things by many close friends and so far it has all been true.

“I’m enjoying working with Rohan.”

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