Zak Hardaker to enter rehab, but will stay at Wigan in 2019

Zak Hadaker will enter rehab to deal with an alcohol issue.

The troubled fullback was arrested for drink-driving last month, just weeks after beginning his time with the Warriors after returning from a drugs ban.

But Wigan will not be sacking the former Castleford and Leeds ace, with the club confirming he will begin professional and personal rehabilitation with the Sporting Chance Clinic.

As part of the process, he will also undergo volunteer work, work experience, mentoring days and wellbeing meetings.

Hardaker’s career has been littered with off-field issues, which have often overshadowed his exploits on the field.

“Firstly, I’d like to make clear that we are extremely disappointed with Zak’s actions on the evening of the 26th September,” Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said.

“Drink driving is completely unacceptable, and we are pleased the matter has been dealt with by the courts so firmly. Nonetheless, we have thought long and hard about what the correct thing to do is for Wigan.

“It would be easy for us to cut our losses with Zak and deny him the opportunity to play for Wigan but we are not going to do that. Our duty of care as employers is to help Zak address the fundamental problems that he has had for some time – issues that we believe could and should have been confronted already.

“Zak will enter a residential facility in the coming weeks and how he commits during this course will not only define his rugby career but potentially set him on a more productive path for the rest of his life. We realise there is no guarantee that this will happen – but – regardless of the outcome – we feel this professional and responsible approach is the only way forward for someone so obviously showing the signs of a man in need of some serious help.

Let me be clear – Zak fully understands that he is employed on our terms and under strict conditions. He knows he has a lot of making up to do. In what should have been a special week for the Club, we could have been distracted by the actions of a player who has yet to pull on our jersey. But he has showed genuine remorse and is determined to repay the faith that we are showing him.”

Hardaker said: “I’d like to wholeheartedly apologise for my actions. The first thing I need to accept is that I have a problem and I’ll be throwing all my efforts into sorting that out. I’d like to thank Ian Lenagan, Kris Radlinski and the Wigan club for supporting me through this and I will do everything I can to repay their faith in me. My sole focus now is confronting the issues that have stopped me becoming the player and person I’d like to be.”