ZAK Hardaker will not be a Leeds Rhinos player in 2023, chief executive Gary Hetherington has confirmed.
Hardaker joined the Rhinos on a short-term deal until the end of the 2022 Super League season following his departure from the Wigan Warriors.
However, he has now decided to take up a deal elsewhere.
“When Rohan arrived he inherited a salary cap that was full for 2022 and pretty full for 2023 as well, given the number of players already contracted for next year and so on,” Hetherington told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Some flexibility was created by people like Liam Sutcliffe – who was contracted for next year – moving on.
“That released some salary cap spend and with Zak, the intention was always to retain him, however we were spent up on the cap.
“Flexibility on the cap only became possible last week with the decision of Jack Walker to move to Bradford Bulls, because he was contracted for next year.
“That enabled us to have the capacity to make an offer to Zak for next year, which we did.
“We were hopeful of him staying, but since then he has had what appears to be a very lucrative offer from another club and he has decided to take that offer.”
It remains to be seen which club Hardaker has signed for, but he would be a genuine asset for any Super League team.