Chief executive Gary Hetherington said an investigation into Hardaker and under-19s player Elliot Minchella is unlikely to be completed until late next week.
And Hetherington has revealed for the first time that the behaviour of other Rhinos players is also being examined as part of an internal inquiry into events early one morning last month. Rhinos began an in-house investigation last week after Hardaker and Minchella admitted assaulting a 22-year-old man at student accommodation in Leeds. The duo were not charged by police after they each agreed to pay £200 compensation to their victim and write a letter of apology.
Hardaker was dropped from the team for the First Utility Super League fixture at Warrington Wolves, but featured against Wigan Warriors eight days ago and is in the squad for tomorrow’s game at Catalans Dragons.
Hetherington, who is leading the club’s investigation into last month’s incident, said: “There is no time limit on it. It is a fairly thorough process and it will probably take another week or so.”
Hetherington confirmed the behaviour of others – who he declined to name, but are believed to be younger members of the playing staff – is also being looked into, though they were not involved in the assault.
He said: “Other players had been out as a group. We are investigating the whole incident and the events leading up to it.”
The incident happened in the early hours of February 3, two days after a fringe Rhinos team, including Hardaker and Minchella, beat Doncaster in the club’s final pre-season game.