Hardaker: Fans are everything

Hardaker: Fans are everything

  • Zak Hardaker reflects on Wigan’s first Super League win of the season.

  • Full-back overwhelmed with crowd support and is looking forward to the World Club Challenge next week.

  • Hardaker: “It’s always good to get the first win of the season.”

Zak Hardaker was pleased to get his first win in Cherry and White as Adrian Lam’s side earned victory at the DW Stadium against Leeds Rhinos.

The full-back was relieved his side bounced back from the disappointment of the opening round defeat against St Helens last week.

And although playing for Leeds “seems like ages ago,” Hardaker commented on how the visiting fans certainly reminded him on Friday night.

“It doesn’t matter who I’m playing, I just want to win in general,” he said.

Despite jeers from the Leeds supporters, it was the support he received from his new fans that stood out to the 27-year-old, admitting he ‘loved’ his first appearance at the DW Stadium.

He said: “When I came out for kicking practice before the game, I got a massive cheer and they did the same at Saints as well. It makes me smile inside. I’ve got the backing of the town and the fans which is huge for me this year. I’ll try to keep the fans smiling and keep performing on the pitch.”

Hardaker converted four goals and one penalty goal to contribute to Wigan’s 34-16 win.

Attentions now turn to next Sunday’s World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters at the DW Stadium.

And Hardaker believes the fans have a huge role to play.

“It’s massive, you don’t realise how much fans do for you. Even when the opposition knock-on and they cheer, it gives us a big lift and plays a massive part.

“The World Club Challenge is on home soil and not many clubs get to do that, so I hope the town comes out and fills the stadium. The fans are excited and I’m looking forward to it as well.”

Hardaker (centre) congratulates Dan Sarginson after scoring Wigan’s opening try.

Hardaker has previous experience in the World Club Challenge with Leeds Rhinos. He was in the winning side in 2012 against Manley and featured in the defeat to North Queensland in 2016.

After being on both sides of a result in the biggest game in club rugby league, Hardaker is ready to offload is experience to the Wigan team.

“I love playing the Aussies, I find it a real challenge. No matter if I’m playing in one or watching at home, I always support the English team. Hopefully we put a few things right in training and get a big win.”

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