Hardaker: Feel good factor

  • Zak Hardaker spoke to Wigan TV to update on his recovery and being back at Robin Park Arena.
  • Hardaker: “Everything that we didn’t have last year, we’ve gone on top of that and multiplied it by ten.”
  • Watch the full interview with Zak on Wigan TV HERE.

On his return to Robin Park Arena following surgery on a neck injury Zak Hardaker described the training facility as having a ‘feel factor’ ahead of the 2022 Season.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said, “I had a few weeks off after the England game watching the lads tear it in through Wigan TV and talking to the boys how hard it’s been, how enjoyable it’s been as well.

“It’s frustrating when you’re not in and all the boys are ripping in but it was great to have a good break and rest up after a tough year last year.”

Hardaker had dealt with some issues with a disc in his neck earlier in the season, he explains: “It was a weird one really, I did it halfway through last year, had a bulging disc in my neck and it was something and nothing – I had it for a few weeks and my left arm started not working. They sent me for a scan, it revealed that I had a bulging disc so I had a jab halfway through the year which saw me through until the end of the season really which was quite good – I was pain-free which was the main thing.”

However, the issue returned after the turn of the season: “I got picked for England, it’s always a great honour, I felt fine and then about the second week after the game I started feeling the pain that I’d had halfway through the year. I rang Jack our physio and said my left arm isn’t working properly again, I’m getting pins and needles, so I came in and they sent me for another scan which showed that the disc had come out even more.”

Now that his surgery is complete, Hardaker is hoping to get back to work as soon as he can: “I’ll be in between Christmas and New Year for a couple of days there for a bit of extras, then back in fully on 3rd January so I’ll doing as much as I can and trying to get back out there with the boys as soon as possible.”

“It’s great, to me it’s the main thing really,” Hardaker said on his return to the training ground, “that’s what you miss when you’re not playing and especially when you’re injured. Being injured and being away from the group is even harder, especially when you see the boys doing the army camp last week.”

The Warriors number 3 was keen to get back after hearing of a lot of changes at the Club: “I talked to Matt Peet about it and he was really passionate and excited about year ahead, he’s involving the town, involving fans a lot more.

“There was a lot of anticipation about who was going to become the new Coach, what we’re going to do next year and how many signings we were going to make. I could see fans were getting a bit frustrated when the news was taking a bit of time to come out but just being around the place – the fans won’t get to experience it but the feel good factor around the place is totally different to last year.

“There’s new posters up, I know it doesn’t sound a lot but with MyProtein, the gym has all changed around, the changing rooms are different, there’s lists up of what we’re having for food. Everything that we didn’t have last year, we’ve gone on top of that and multiplied it by ten really.”

He added: “As a professional outfit and a professional Rugby player, to see the Club going through to make it as professional as they can, to make it enjoyable being here, it makes you as a player want to be here, to enjoy yourself, play as well as you can for the Club – it’s been brilliant.”

Hardaker was also impressed with the new Coaching outfit: “Matt Peet has been here for a number of years, for him to be Head Coach it’s going to be different but you know the person quite well so it’s not that difficult. Lee Briers seems a good guy, he’s taken the attacking duties and Lockers is defence.

“As much as it is new, there is quite a lot of old in it but there’s new themes, the whole ethos around the town of Wigan itself has changed. That’s something I’ve noticed away from the training camp and just coming in today, seeing everyone and how they go about things, timings and schedules have all changed.”

See Zak and the rest of the Warriors back in action at the DW Stadium with a 2022 season ticket. The early bird deadline ends on Friday 31st December, don’t delay – get yours today. All information on season tickets including pricing and how to buy can be found HERE.