Super League Man of Steel Hardaker in line for full set of trophies
Newly nominated Super League Man of Steel, Zac Hardaker can complete a full set of trophies if Leeds Rhinos beat Wigan Warriors in the Grand Final.
Having already won the Challenge Cup and League Leaders Shield, his teammates are now focused on securing a treble and are 11/10 to beat Wigan. For Hardaker though, just to be nominated was clearly a privilege for him.
“I’m overwhelmed with the accolade. I didn’t expect it,” he said. “I was really happy and made up that I got the nomination and to go an extra step and get this award is something else.
“This is my best year up to date. I’ve improved year on year with Leeds and hopefully I can do that again next year because that would be tremendous. But it’s the team that has enabled me to play that much better.”
The 23-year-old full back is part of a group of players who form the next generation of this Leeds Rhinos side and, with Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai all moving on, will be a crucial part of the future.
He is 15/8 to cross anytime against Wigan, and is widely predicted to be the number one of choice in Steve McNamara’s England side for the Four Nations.
Leeds have almost had a clean sweep in the honours department this term. As well as the aforementioned trophies, they won the award for Team of the Season, while Brian McDermott scooped Coach of the Season, Sinfield got Top Gun while the skipper achieved an Outstanding Contribution accolade along with Peacock and Leuluai.
Hardaker, though, beat off competition from teammate Adam Cuthbertson and St Helens forward Alex Walmsley and is the first Rhinos player to win the award since Welsh full back Iestyn Harris 17 years ago. However, no doubt Hardaker would happily sacrifice his new award to get his hands on the Super League trophy.