Hardaker could make NRL debut this weekend

Zak Hardaker could make his NRL debut this Saturday as Penrith take on Wests Tigers.

The current Man of Steel has joined the Panthers on a short-term deal from Leeds, which saw James Segeyaro move the other way after the 24-year-old expressed a desire to test himself Down Under.

England’s full-back only travelled to Australia on Monday, but Penrith coach Anthony Griffin isn’t ruling out the possibility of Hardaker making his debut at the weekend.

“He’s had two full days with us now and got his first good night’s sleep last night and he was nice and fresh this morning,” said Griffin.

“I don’t know yet (if he’ll play). He’s a chance. We’ve got a couple of options there at the back end of our squad on the bench, we’ll sort that out before the game.”

The 24-year-old has impressed his new coach so far, as Griffin said: “First thing I noticed is that he’s very energetic, seems like a tough competitor and the vision we watched of him and the reports we got on him reflect that as well.

“That’s the main thing we need him to bring. We need him to bring a strong work ethic and a defensive attitude. If he can get that right, he’s obviously got some things in attack that might be able to help us as well.”