Zak Hardaker has become one of Leeds Rhinos’ most consistent players since joining mid-season from the Wigan Warriors.
The fullback/centre has excelled under new Rhinos boss Rohan Smith, so much so, that Leeds fans have been calling for him to be given an extended deal.
Hardaker signed on a short-term deal until the end of the season with that expected to work out for both parties which it most certainly has, with the Pontefract man being a key part of the club’s current great run of form.
Unfortunately, trying to fit him into the salary cap for 2023 and beyond may take some doing, especially with how tight the cap is at Headingley.
For Smith, however, he wants to keep Hardaker and has given an update on talks.
“I’ve spoken to Zak’s manager and that’s an ongoing process,” Smith simply said.
However, avid viewers will have noticed in recent weeks that Hardaker has had thick black strapping over his leg which Smith said is customary for this time of the year with the knocks that people can get.
“Like everyone at this time of year, Zak is carrying a few niggles and it’s black strapping over his leg.”
Smith had previously said: “I’m happy with our roster and it’s a matter of tweaking and adjusting things – we need to have an understanding of where we go and what the value is on players and then understand the market and try to establish value.”
For Hardaker, though, it would signal a dream redemption shot at the club which handed him his first chance in Super League and one that stood by him for a number of years.
It would also give the 30-year-old the opportunity to do a full circle and retire where he made his name.