Leigh Leopards, not Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves or any of the so called ‘big clubs, won the Challenge Cup trophy.
Leigh have recruited incredibly well but a lot of the players they have drafted are from the so called big clubs.
So many players made the move from Warrington Wolves to Leigh ahead of 2023 and Tom Briscoe and Zak Hardaker left Grand Finalists Leeds Rhinos for Leigh.
It has been put forward on a number of occasions that being ‘rejected’ at other clubs has helped motivate the club towards their success in 2023.
Hardaker has now opened up on his Leeds exit at the end of last year revealing he wanted to stat but eventually had to say “fuck them” as “they didn’t want” him.
Hardaker said on the Fully Game podcast: “Because we’ve got people from different walks of life and different clubs, and we’ve all been like put together because clubs didn’t want us, or your time was deemed up, or you’re 31 so you’re getting to end your career, or Leigh wanted you to, for your experience, and stuff like that.
“We’ve all come together and been like, ‘f**k it, that club didn’t want him, well f**k them, or that club didn’t want him, f**k them’, and then I want to stay at Leeds and they didn’t want me there, so it’s just like that mixture of people, and it’s just a big cocktail really of things and it’s just all come together and yeah it’s a strong group.”
Asked if he has something to prove, Hardaker said: “I think so yeah but it’s nothing like we need to prove it, it’s just individually we’re all proud. Myself, I’m a proud person and I want to do the best I can and I love proving people wrong, I’ve done it for a lot of years.
“I just think it collectively as a group we’re all single-minded in that’s what we want. so then when you put it into a group and you’ve got a coach and playing staff and an owner like Derek who’s a bit bonkers but he wants the best for us, then it’s just a great mixture of getting the best out of us.”