Hardaker is a good egg, says McDermott

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.”