Leeds issue statement on Hardaker incident

Leeds Rhinos have today issued the following statement relating to an incident which happened in the city earlier this year that was brought into the public spotlight:

“The Leeds Rhinos Players Code of Conduct prohibits players from visiting licensed premises after midnight without prior permission from me or the Head Coach. Our investigation has revealed this regulation was breached by five players on a midweek evening before the start of this season. Furthermore Zak Hardaker and Elliot Minchella were involved in an incident at a student accommodation building, which led to a police investigation and a written apology from both players to a student and a £200 compensation payment from Hardaker and Minchella.

“Our internal investigation has now concluded. It has been an exhaustive process and we are always disappointed when players fall below the standards we expect of them and let everyone else down. The players themselves are embarrassed and very apologetic and I am sure it has been a lesson learned for all involved.

“Rob Mulhern, Josh Walters and Ash Handley have each received a fine and a verbal warning. Elliot Minchella has received a written warning and a fine of 50% of his monthly salary.

“With regard to Zak Hardaker, the club has accepted his apology for his actions, however, given his previous misconduct, Zak has realized that it is his actions rather than his words that must now show his intentions to put these events behind him. Therefore, we have agreed the following actions:

1) Zak will forfeit one months salary and this will be donated to support a local charity project
2) He will enroll on a course for anger management
3) Zak will work as a volunteer for up to 20 hours a week for the duration of his Rhinos contract to assist the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and Marketing Department.

“Zak is full of passion and enthusiasm and has many qualities that are to be admired in a young player but a small part of him has led to problems and this has to be addressed, not only for the image of the game but most importantly for Zak’s own well being and his ability to fulfil his potential. We have passed the point of telling him what he has to do, however, for the first time Zak has admitted to us and, more importantly to himself, that he has an issue with aspects of his lifestyle which he wants to improve. We have listened to what he has committed to do for himself and we will support him.”