Castleford Tigers have completed the permanent signing of Zak Hardaker from Leeds Rhinos for £150,000.
The England star has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with the league leaders that will see him become a permanent member of their squad on July 1st.
Hardaker, the 2015 Man of Steel, joined the club on an initial one-year loan at the start of the season and has scored four tries and assisted 12 more this year.
“I am really thankful for the opportunity that Daryl Powell and Steve Gill gave me to come to Castleford at the start of the season,” Hardaker said.
“To get the chance to stay here, I just jumped at the offer! I have fully enjoyed my time here so far and I think we have a couple of exciting years ahead of us. It was an easy decision to stay here once I got the offer,”
Hardaker added: “The fans are amazing! It’s quite a close-knit community and the fans are so loyal. It’s great for myself to be around the club and I really enjoy playing for the people of Cas.”
Powell added: “Signing Zak is a huge deal for the club. For quality players and indeed International players to come to Castleford and then want to stay and commit their long-term futures here, I feel says a lot about us as a club. Zak is continuing to improve as a player and I believe he will continue to do so over the coming seasons. I look forward to working with Zak and helping him to firstly to do something special with Castleford and then grow as an International player and play in the World Cup at the end of the season.”
Tigers CEO Steve Gill commented: “We are all thrilled at Castleford Tigers to be able to bring a quality player like Zak into our squad. His form this year has put him back in the England set up, and he has been a great replacement following Luke Dorn’s retirement. I would like to thank Gary Hetherington at Leeds Rhinos for the integrity and honesty he has shown throughout the course of these negotiations.”
TotalRL understands Hardaker has not been offered a central contract by the RFL.