Brian McDermott stands by Zak Hardaker

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has leapt to the defence of full-back Zak Hardaker, who is again being investigated by the RFL for use of homphobic language on the field.

The 22-year-old allegedly blew a kiss and made a comment to a Saints player in their match last week and the RFL have employed a lip reader to find out exactly what was said. If found guilty, he will face a ban of eight matches.

Rhinos chairman Gary Hetherington released a statement this week supporting Hardaker and accusing the RFL of initiating a “witch hunt”.

“I stand by everything Gary has said,” McDermott said.

Zak Hardaker
Zak Hardaker

“It’s disappointing what is happening. Zak’s getting accused of being something he isn’t and his name shouldn’t be bandied about at this stage.

“It’s guilty until proven innocent, unfortunately. He’s not even been investigated yet, never mind been found guilty.

“That happened last time and it’s happening again.”