ZAK HARDAKER insists Leeds and international colleague Kevin Sinfield has no reason to say sorry for his rash red card.
The England captain incurred the first dismissal of his long career for head-butting Luke Dorn late on in Thursday’s 24-24 draw with Castleford Tigers.
Leeds were ahead 24-18 at the time, but conceded a converted try soon after.
“Obviously, I know all about losing my cool and heat of the moment stuff,” said Hardaker, the full-back who made his return from a five-game ban for homophobic abuse and was last year sent home from England’s World Cup camp after a breach of discipline. “But modern professional as he is, it’s a tight game and rugby league is a tough sport which is demanding on yourself... it’s one of those moments.
“He’s gutted in there. He’s real upset about himself and what he’s done and really feels like he’s let the team down. I don’t feel like he did. Things like that happen to people across the board yet that’s his first red card across his entire pro’ career and probably juniors as well.
“It’s not like Kevin at all but it’s just the balance of the game and how much he wanted to win and lead. As captain, he wants to do that.
“Obviously, he’s gone a bit off the rails there but I’m sure he’ll bounce back from it and be fine.”
Sinfield, 33, is almost certain to receive a ban next week for the indiscretion and at least miss Friday’s trip to Salford Red Devils.
But 12-man Leeds still had a chance to win against title rivals Castleford – only for the ball to end up in Jamie Peacock’s hands as they went for a late drop-goal.
Hardaker, who had been waiting along with Danny McGuire for a pass from Rob Burrow, added: “Maggsy was right and I was left and I thought it was coming to me but the next minute a 20-yard pass goes back and I’ve turned to see JP had the ball. I wondered ‘What’s going on here?’.”