Rhinos put Hardaker up for sale at £300,000

Zak Hardaker

Zak Hardaker

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Last year’s Man of Steel Zak Hardaker is set to leave Leeds after the Rhinos placed the full-back on the transfer list.

The England international was a key player for Brian McDermott’s side in their treble-winning 2015 season but the Rhinos have agreed to sell him after he expressed his desire to play in the NRL.

Leeds, who are bottom of Super League after 17 rounds, have valued Hardaker at £300,000.

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We have agreed with Zak that the opportunity to continue his career at another club is in both parties’ best interests.

“Zak has established his credentials as a world-class player and at the age of 24 he has so much to look forward to.

“He has given great service to the Rhinos as a full-back, winger and centre and he will remain part of our squad until a transfer is agreed.

“I have no doubt he will continue to give his best as he always does.”

Hardaker joined Leeds from Featherstone Rovers in 2011 and scored a try in the Rhinos’ Grand Final victory over St Helens later that year.

He has gone on to score 67 tries in 154 appearances for Leeds, winning a total of three Super League titles, two Challenge Cups, the League Leaders’ Shield and World Club Challenge.

“I explained my desire to leave and test myself in the NRL to Gary several weeks ago and I am pleased the club is prepared to release me,” said Hardaker.

“I have had five great years here and have had so many wonderful times. I will continue to help the team whilst I am here but I am also excited with what the future may hold for me.”

Hardaker’s impending departure would be the latest high-profile exit from Headingley after Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock, Kylie Leuluai and Paul Aiton all left the Rhinos at the end of last season.

A series of injuries have exacerbated the loss of those players, with Hardaker one of 10 absentees as rock-bottom Leeds suffered their 14th defeat of a miserable Super League campaign on Friday night.

Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott said: “Zak is a special talent and a fierce competitor who will do well wherever he plays.

“We won’t be quite the same without him, but we’ve come to this decision and he will leave with our best wishes.”

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