Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has praised Zak Hardaker for the way he took the disciplinary action that resulted from his behaviour at the World Cup.
The young full-back was sent home from the competition by England coach Steve McNamara and was fined by the Rhinos on his return.
“He’s had a bit of a controversial offseason with what happened with the international but the way he’s responded to that has been brilliant.
“I’ve always rated him as a player and essentially he’s always been a good egg of a bloke. Every now and again he gets a bit silly and finds himself in a scrape or two, which is understandable for a young man, but at Leeds Rhinos we don’t accept that.
“I thought I knew a bit about him but I’ve found out more about him in the off-season, the way he’s handled the whole disciplinary issue, he’s been outstanding with it.
“He’s going to be good for us this year, Zak.”
In Leeds’ boxing day encounter with cross-county rivals Wakefield, McDermott played Hardaker at scrum-half and gave him the captain’s armband.
On that note, McDermott added: “It’s not something I’d actively plan to do but it’s comforting to know that he can fill in there if needed.
“Whether I play him at half or not it’s just nice to know he can fill in if we have an injury.”