Zak Hardaker has been one of Super League’s best players since he burst onto the scene in the top tier with Leeds Rhinos.
However, Hardaker has had to deal with more than his fair share of controversy.
One of these came during his prime years at Leeds when he faced a GBH charge for an altercation with a Leeds student.
Hardaker spoke honestly on the Fully Game YouTube channel about what happened that night:
“I think it was a Monday but it was a weird night, it wasn’t like a Friday or Saturday standard night out and we were with some girls and they invited us back to this uni place.
“So uni rooms have got loads of doors and then there’s a big utility kitchen. We’re all blind and there was about 12 of us, all rugby lads, and because I was injured it’d been my first game of pre-season and I’d played with the reserves.
“So it was like the younger lads and the reserves. I’d gone out because I’d played, had a drink and we were walking back out at four in the morning and there’s like 12 room doors and one of the lads is taking a piss at the door.
“I obviously didn’t know, I was about 10 yards in front and I turned round and there’s a lad filling in one of the younger rugby lads.
“I’ve just flown in and we’ve had a fight and I just walked off and then three weeks later it was West Yorkshire Police’s Twitter asking ‘have you seen these two men for a GBH assault’ and I looked at the picture and it was me walking through the uni.
“I sent it to the rugby lads asking what had gone on because I didn’t know it was that bad, I just thought it was a little scrap.
“Then everyone starts commenting on it, it goes on Facebook and people asking if it was Zak Hardaker and I realised it was getting out of hand.
“Leeds found out and pulled me in and said ‘go to the police and hand yourself in’.
“I thought it would just be a telling off because the story is right, it wasn’t two on one, I hadn’t flattened a guy, it was just he’d been hitting one of the lads and I jumped in. Then it turns out he has six or seven witnesses and a broken nose and broken jaw or something like that.
“Then they said he’d come in with his face black and blue and clearly whoever he lived in the door with he’d asked them look can you say, because there was no way because it was only us 12 and then two girls. So there was no way six witnesses could have even seen it.
“So they charged me with GBH at first and I got a lawyer who deals with GBH cases and he said there was a good chance I could get done, I was getting done with intent as well so it was minimum community service and then maximum a couple of years.
“I didn’t think it was possible but I went and there was loads of noise around it and the only thing that got me off really is that the man and woman who took the investigation were brand new.
“They were new in the job and there was a lot of things coming at them and I had some lawyers saying what I could do to get the minimum charge so they got it down to ABH I think.
“Then when I walked in there was some paper and they said ‘write an apology, say you’ll pay this fine and we’ll call it quits’ so I signed it, paid him a victim charge and I’ve gone. It was only about £500. That was it done.
“It was just a big s***storm over not that much really.”