Three NRL clubs still chasing Hardaker

Three NRL clubs are still in the race to sign Leeds full-back Zak Hardaker, TotalRL understands.

Wests Tigers, Penrith Panters and Gold Coast Titans are the three clubs interested in the current Man of Steel, who has been priced at £300,000 by the Rhinos.

A number of clubs have shown interest since the 24-year-old was placed on the transfer list, with Canberra also understood to have been keen, but that failed to materialise.

Should Hardaker join either Wests or Penrith, he would face formidable competition for the number one jersey.

James Tedesco has enjoyed a superb year at Wests, with his performances recently seeing him backed by Anthony Minichiello to play for New South Wales in the second State of Origin test.

However, Tedesco missed out on selection, with coach Laurie Daley keeping faith in Penrith’s Matt Moylan, another player Hardaker could eventually fight for selection with once a decision is made on his new club.

Meanwhile, Gold Coast’s current full-back is 29-year-old William Zillman, who has been with the Titans since 2009. Gold Coast, who have already signed Wigan’s Dan Sarginson for 2017, would probably be Hardaker’s best opportunity to get regular first-team action playing at number one.

It is understood that Leeds are keen to sort a deal out as soon as possible so they can make plans for a replacement. Hardaker would most likely remain with the Rhinos until the end of the season, however an immediate move Down Under is not out of the question.