International dream drives on Zak Hardaker to succeed with Castleford

BIG TARGETS: Zak Hardaker, right, believes his move to Castleford Tigers will boost his chances of an England recall.
 Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
BIG TARGETS: Zak Hardaker, right, believes his move to Castleford Tigers will boost his chances of an England recall. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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AN ENGLAND ambition will fire Zak Hardaker this year and could pay dividends for Castleford Tigers.

The full-back, signed by Castleford on a season-long loan from Leeds Rhinos, has set his sights on the World Cup which kicks off in 292 days’ time.

England's Zak Hardaker in action for England at the KC Stadium in 2015. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

England's Zak Hardaker in action for England at the KC Stadium in 2015. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Hardaker, who spent the second half of last season at Penrith Panthers, was not selected for Wayne Bennett’s 2016 Four Nations squad, but said regaining his place for the showpiece in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea is “a goal of mine, 100 per cent”.

The 2015 Man of Steel revealed: “That is one reason why I wanted to come to Castleford. I thought Castleford would probably be the best team for me to get that opportunity back.

“No disrespect to any other teams, but I thought the way Cas play and how they go about things, for me to play in that team would be my best chance, That is a long-term goal, it is something definitely in the pipeline.”

Castleford are expected to press for a top-four place in Super League and Hardaker knows that will benefit his international aspirations.

“I just want to play well for Cas and try and achieve something here,” he said. “If the team’s playing well you get more representatives in the England team.”