The England full-back became the first Leeds Rhinos player to win the prestigious Man of Steel in 17 years on Monday night and lines up for them against Wigan at Old Trafford this weekend.
Hardaker, 23, has made great strides since joining from Featherstone Rovers as a teenager at the end of 2010.
But he said: “I had a choice of a few clubs at the time.
“Warrington wanted to sign me, Wigan had words – my agent had a chat with them – Hull FC and then Leeds were one of the last clubs to come in.
“I just thought ‘Wow, why are they all interested in a lad from Fev?!’ But once I heard the Rhinos wanted to sign me, I jumped at the chance.
“The relationship between (Rovers chairman) Mark Campbell and (Leeds chief executive) Gary Hetherington was special; they wanted my career to go up a notch, they didn’t want me to just sign for a big team, crumble under the pressure and disappear.
“They knew I’d something special and looking back, when I thought Leeds was right, doing the things I’ve done has proved that decision right.”