The biggest hint dropped yet of which club Leeds Rhinos star Zak Hardaker will be at in 2023

Four months ago, Zak Hardaker couldn’t get out of the limelight following his exit from the Wigan Warriors.

That prompted a search back in Yorkshire to find him a new club closer to home – something which ended with Hardaker signing for his former side Leeds Rhinos amidst a flurry of speculation.

Since then, the 30-year-old has gone about his business quietly trying to earn himself a new deal at Headingley with the fullback or centre appearing to have a great relationship with head coach Rohan Smith.

Since Smith’s arrival – which coincided with Hardaker’s – Leeds have been a club very much on the up which was epitomised by the West Yorkshire club’s late win over Castleford Tigers on Saturday afternoon.

Resilience and commitment to the cause was obvious with the Rhinos trailing 8-0 with eight minutes to go before they rallied, scoring 14 points in eight minutes to beat a heartbroken Castleford side, patched up but full of determination.

Hardaker proved key to that comeback and he even received the man of the match award from Sky Sports analyst Jon Wells for the way in which he helped his side get back into the game.

Of course, much talk in recent weeks has centred around Hardaker’s future, with just a short-term deal signed leaving his career up in the air as things stand.

For Smith, however, he wants to see Hardaker remain at the club and conversations are ongoing – in fact, one such conversation took place just minutes before the head coach’s media duties.

“There’s been a lot of conversations – one was held in the last five minutes,” Smith said.

“We talked about what I know of the situation and we hope that we can get something worked out but there will be some time constraints that we need to abide by.”

That does look hopeful for Leeds fans who have been eager for the 30-year-old to stay after settling in seamlessly back Headingley.