Wigan Warriors confirm the signing of Zak Hardaker on a four-year deal.
Following the serving of his 14-month ban by UKAD after testing positive for a prohibited substance and his summary dismissal from his previous club in November 2017, he will be free to join Wigan on November 8th 2018 and to commence training with Wigan from two months earlier.
Hardaker has an impressive playing CV including winning:
• Super League Young Player of the Year - 2012
• Super League Man of Steel - 2015
• Super League Grand Final - 2011 and 2012
• Challenge Cup winner - 2014 and 2015
At 26 years old, he is an accomplished Rugby player who can play anywhere in the back line.
Wigan Rugby League Club has a renowned squad culture and standards, a spirit of professionalism and a track record of development and redirection of young players. These standards together with Wigan’s excellent Welfare Department headed by Steve McCormack and its players’ strong involvement within the Community should provide the supportive and disciplined environment for Zak Hardaker to serve his ban and have a last chance to rebuild his career.
Chairman Ian Lenagan said;
“This wasn’t a decision that we made lightly. We recognise the serious nature of this incident and our choice in offering this opportunity should not be seen as condoning his actions in any way.
“We had extensive conversations with Zak and his family before making our offer. We encountered a man who, after 8 months of reflection, openly admits that he has made a series of significantly poor decisions over the past few years. Crucially, we also saw someone who recognises that this is the final opportunity to focus on delivering the achievements his talent should generate.
“I have had the experiences in business and sport of offering contrite individuals the final opportunity and environment to learn from their mistakes with some notable successes and occasional failures. Wigan are giving Zak Hardaker that platform to repay the faith his family have shown him. My team at Wigan will manage, mentor and test him through this period of rehabilitation and development and, hopefully, guide him back to being one of the best players in Super League.”
Head Coach Shaun Wane commented;
“Zak is an outstanding competitor and a hugely talented individual who will understand the culture at our Club. He is the opposition name who, when we preview his team, is always the main danger. Now he is one on our team and that is pleasing for everyone involved.
“His early return to training will assist his transition back into the sport but he will not be not be available to play in the 2018 Super League season.”
A full interview with Zak Hardaker can be found HERE.