Signing Hardaker is statement of intent from Castleford

Zak Hardaker in action for Leeds Rhinos against Michael Shenton, who will now be his Castleford Tigers captain.
Zak Hardaker in action for Leeds Rhinos against Michael Shenton, who will now be his Castleford Tigers captain.

Chief executive Steve Gill believes Castleford Tigers have shown Super League that they mean business with their signing of 2015 Man of Steel Zak Hardaker from Leeds Rhinos.

Speculation about a move to Cas for the local lad has been rife since the end of the last season and it was finally confirmed this week with a loan arrangement initially for 2017 and an option agreed to sign the player for an undisclosed fee next November.

“It took a lot of hard work to get the deal done. A lot of honesty and a lot of discussions,” said Gill.

“I am pleased and a bit relieved, I can sleep at night now it’s over the line.

“We’ve got some quality players in the side in key positions and Zak is multi talented as well. He can play in a number of positions in our back line, at full-back, centre or wing.

“He gives that experience and that edge that I believe we need to get in the top four.

“We are not here to make the numbers up, we want to make a difference in Super League and we want to thrive and not just survive.

“Zak’s a statement of intent and we’re only too pleased to sign him.

“I must thank Leeds Rhinos and Gary Hetherington for their understanding. It’s been a pleasure to work with them and discuss and get through what we needed to get through. They did it very professionally and very honestly.”

Gill believes the Tigers are now in a position to challenge for honours in 2017.

He added: “The boys were back in for training for the first time on Monday and there was a real buzz about the place.

“We’re looking good for next year now.

“It’s taken us about three-and-a-half, four years to get where we want to be. I’m really proud what we’ve achieved.”