THERE has been much deliberation over the future of Zak Hardaker following a stellar number of months back at Leeds Rhinos.
Leeds’ salary cap space has long been a talking point as Rohan Smith tries to tinker and put his own stamp on his squad.
Smith’s arrival earlier this year at Headingley coincided with Hardaker’s following the latter’s exit from the Wigan Warriors.
And it’s fair to say that the pair combined expertly, with the Rhinos reaching the end of season Grand Final following a remarkable run of results.
Of course, Leeds lost the showpiece event to St Helens at Old Trafford, but Smith’s revival of Leeds became one of the biggest talking points of the year – with Hardaker firmly in the conversation too.
Hardaker only signed a deal at Headingley until the end of 2022, meaning that he would effectively be a free agent going into the off-season.
Since the Grand Final, the 31-year-old has been locked in conversations about potentially staying at the West Yorkshire club, though the salary cap has been a major stumbling block during that time.
However, Leeds have seemingly confirmed the fullback/centre’s future with a happy birthday post on their Instagram feed.
In doing so, the Rhinos included Hardaker in the 2023 Super League home shirt, prompting a buzz from Leeds fans that he will potentially be staying at Headingley for the foreseeable future.