Wigan Warriors chief reveals Zak Hardaker concerns

Ian Lenagan expects Zak Hardaker to play a key role in the new era at Wigan under Matty Peet – despite allowing him to test the market last week.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 3:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:31 pm
Zak Hardaker

Hardaker, who turns 30 at the end of next week, has turned his career around after Wigan offered him a lifeline in 2019.

But he’s recently expressed a desire to relocate back to his native West Yorkshire, which Lenagan acknowledges would be difficult.

Wigan even allowed Hardaker a small window to test the water with regards his availability for next year, although no club stepped in with an offer.

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And after unveiling new coach Peet on a three-year deal, Lenagan expects Hardaker to be fully on board.

“We’ve been very open about the Zak Hardaker situation,” he said.

“We’ve helped rehabilitate the whole reputation of Zak Hardaker over the last three years.

“We’ve worked very hard with him and it’s cost us a lot of time and money – but he is worth it.

“We’re disappointed he’s moving back to West Yorkshire. We are saying that very openly – we are disappointed with it.

“We understand why he says he’s doing it, and it’s his choice. But we’re nervous of it, without any doubt.

“He has got another year left on his contract and we’re honouring that contract.

“We did give him an option to look around and he hasn’t found anybody...that tells you something, doesn’t it?

“He’s made it very clear he’s going to work very hard, he’s going to have to get up much earlier.

“It might impact his game, we obviously hope it doesn’t impact his game.

“But remember we also have a second-year option, so the idea he’s going at the end of next year...he’s going at the end of next year only if we let him go.

"Otherwise we may take the option.

“But we’re aware of the fact he’d rather be over there.

“We don’t think it would be good for him, and we’ve made that very clear. At the same time we’ll support him all the way, and hope it doesn’t impact too badly on his game.”

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