Zak Hardaker: Leeds full-back turned down three clubs

Zak Hardaker
Zak Hardaker celebrates scoring a try against St Helens in the Challenge Cup semi-final

The 2015 Super League Man of Steel Zak Hardaker has revealed he nearly slipped through Leeds Rhinos' hands, before signing from Featherstone in 2010.

The 23-year-old had a host of clubs chasing his signature five years ago.

"I had a choice of a few," Hardaker said. "Warrington wanted to sign me, Wigan had words about me, Hull FC and then Leeds came in for me.

"They (Leeds) were one of the last clubs to come in, but once I heard they wanted me, I jumped at the chance."

Hardaker is aiming to help Leeds to the Grand Slam this weekend as the Rhinos face Wigan in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Leeds secured the League Leaders' Shield last month having already thumped Hull KR 50-0 to win the Challenge Cup in August.

The full-back said he could not believe the interest the bigger clubs showed after Featherstone agreed he could take the step up from part-time rugby.

He added: "My agent had a little chat with Wigan. The teams that came in for me at the time I just thought 'wow, why are they interested in a lad from Fev?'

"Fev played a massive part. The relationship between (chairman) Mark Campbell and (Leeds chief executive) Gary Hetherington was special and they wanted my career to kick on and not for me to disappear.

"They knew I had something special to offer. They both talked about it and, looking back, when I thought Leeds was the right choice, doing the things I've done has proved that decision to be right."

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