Hetherington confirms Leeds’ plans for life without Zak Hardaker

Gary Hetherington has confirmed that Leeds are planning for life without Zak Hardaker.

The reigning Man of Steel left Leeds earlier this season to take up a short-term deal with Penrith Panthers, but is still under contract at the Rhinos and is due back at the club once his contract with the NRL club expires at the end of the season.

Penrith have yet to offer Hardaker a contract for next season, leaving the England international on the search for a new club next season.

League Express broke the story this week, claiming that a scramble is set to take place between a number of Super League clubs to secure his services for next season. Hull Kingston Rovers and Catalans Dragons are the two clubs that have been linked with a move for the 24-year-old so far, although several clubs are expected to join the race to secure his services.

Hetherington has confirmed that Leeds are planning for life without Hardaker.

“We have made plans for 2017 without Zak Hardaker,” he told TotalRL.

“At the time, both he and the club agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest to commence his future at another club, that has always been the case.

“Since it was announced that he went on the transfer list, there has been no change to anyone’s position, the only thing that happened was Zak signed a short-term contract with Penrith, under our permission, in an arrangement that saw James Segeyaro come the other way. That arrangement enabled Zak to go to Penrith until the end of the season.”

The reigning Man of Steel remains on the transfer list, having been valued at £300,000 by Leeds in June.

“Any arrangement has to be in agreement with Leeds Rhinos, as he remains a Leeds Rhinos contracted player. It’s a valuation. It is like any player on the transfer list, that is a fee we believe to be a fair valuation of Zak’s ability, experience and age.”