Hardaker 'seizure' shock as new Leeds Rhinos recruit collapses on walk with son

By Sports Desk April 28, 2022

British rugby league star Zak Hardaker suffered a suspected seizure on the day the 30-year-old's move to Super League club Leeds Rhinos was announced.

Hardaker was out walking with his young son when he collapsed, requiring help from a paramedic who lived on the street where the incident occurred.

The health scare happened on Tuesday, Leeds said, with Hardaker taken to Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield. He had trained with the Rhinos squad earlier in the day.

Leeds said Hardaker underwent "various investigations before being safely discharged home".

His Wigan exit last week was reported to have been as a result of a disciplinary issue, with Warriors executive director Kris Radlinski subsequently saying the Cherry and Whites were "extremely disappointed that his time at the club has had to end in this way".

It paved the way for Hardaker to make a short-term return to Leeds, for whom he played over 100 games earlier in his career, winning three Super League titles and Man of Steel honours.

Hardaker's career has been disrupted by a series of controversies, and the talented back served a drugs ban while at Castleford Tigers after testing positive for cocaine in September 2017.

He had been expected to return to Leeds colours against Hull KR at Headingley on Friday, but he will not feature.

Hardaker said on Thursday: "I would like to say a huge thank you to the paramedic who came to my aid and administered first aid before the ambulance arrived, it does not bear to think about what might have been the outcome without her quick thinking.

"It is so disappointing that I will not get to play on Friday, but the Rhinos have given me great support and I will make sure I complete all the tests necessary, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."

Related items

  • England boss Jones would 'jump' at NRL call England boss Jones would 'jump' at NRL call

    England boss Eddie Jones says he would love to swap codes and take up an NRL head coach position, but admits the likelihood of a move to rugby league is small.

    The Australian spent time following his side's tour victory over the Wallabies visiting leading sports clubs across the country, including NRL premiers Penrith and AFL duo Melbourne and Carlton.

    Jones has his focus on taking England one step further than their silver-medal finish at the Japan 2019 World Cup next year when he leads them to France 2023.

    But beyond that, his future is unclear, and the veteran admits he would be delighted to get the chance to chance his arm in league's biggest domestic competition, particularly with boyhood club South Sydney Rabbitohs.

    "I like the game," Jones told Nine. "If there was an opportunity there [in the NRL] I would jump at it, but the reality is it’s probably not going to be there."

    Jones' admiration for the rival code comes at a time when a proliferation of great union successes have been guided by former league stalwarts.

    Ex-Wigan forward Andy Farrell guided Ireland to a first-ever series win in New Zealand against the All Blacks earlier this month, while ex-Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield was instrumental in Leicester's Premiership triumph too.

    Shaun Edwards has helped revolutionise France's defence under Fabien Galthie, and Jones' own assistant, the former Souths head coach Anthony Seibold, has been an ace in their revival this summer against the Wallabies.

    It is the Rabbitohs the 62-year-old grew up as a fan of, and asked if he would be tempted by the top job at Redfern, he admitted: "That would be the dream team. That would be the dream.

    "From the age of five, I’ve supported Souths. That would be fantastic [to coach the Rabbitohs]. I loved the old teams with Ronnie Coote, Bob McCarthy, John Sattler and Eric Simms. 100 per cent [I'd take the job]."

    Souths are currently led by former assistant Jason Demetriou, who succeeded veteran coach Wayne Bennett at the end of last year, and currently lie sixth on the NRL ladder as they push for the playoffs.

  • NWRL star Brown 'triggered' by Manly pride jersey boycott NWRL star Brown 'triggered' by Manly pride jersey boycott

    NRWL star Karina Brown says she felt "triggered" by the decision of several Manly Warringah Sea Eagles players to prominently boycott wearing a pride-inspired rainbow jersey this week against Sydney Roosters.

    The Sea Eagles will be missing seven players for the NRL crunch clash with the Roosters over the club's decision to wear a kit featuring coloured stripes instead of white on the traditional swap.

    Boss Des Hasler apologised to both the LGBTQ+ community and the players, who claim they were not consulted on the call, and have cited family, religious and cultural beliefs for their boycott.

    Brown, a two-time World Cup winner and prominently out sportswoman, admitted the furore has left her angered, joining the latest list of voices to speak out against the players' decision.

    "It did trigger me, if I’m honest," the Queensland and Australian representative told the On Her Game podcast. "I felt a bit enraged and frustrated.

    "This jersey is a Women in League round jersey and it's 'everyone in league' ... whether you love someone of the same sex or whether you love Jesus Christ, there’s a place for you here in rugby league.

    "To get upset about a jersey with a few added extra colours on the piping to represent everyone in league, not just pride, I was just astounded that was a stance that some players have taken.

    "It's just so important. People are realising that discrimination is so hurtful in this society and so we're trying to do something about it.

    "[It's] definitely frustrating that we're still talking about it but it does still exist. I can see now why we don’t have an NRL Pride round."

    The continued fallout has led to suggestions a designated pride round could be installed in the NRL as soon as next season, with ARLC chairman Peter V'Landys floating the concept as a possibility on Tuesday.

    Roosters coach Trent Robinson backed Manly's decision to stick with their jersey, adding that he was frustrated by continued discrimination. 

    "It is great what the owners of Manly have decided to do and it is unfortunate that it has panned out this way because everyone is equal, no matter what race, gender, sexual preference, everyone is equal," he stated.

    "Let people make their choice and let’s not discriminate against those, and we are still doing that, and that is why it is unfortunate."

  • Seven Sea Eagles players to boycott NRL crunch clash over pride jersey Seven Sea Eagles players to boycott NRL crunch clash over pride jersey

    Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have confirmed seven of their players will sit out their NRL clash with Sydney Roosters on Thursday over the team's decision to wear a pride jersey.

    The Northern Beaches outfit are set to become the first club in the competition's history to sport a specialised strip, with rainbow stripes in place of the club's typical white set to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.

    But the club have become embroiled in a boycott by seven players, who say they were not consulted on the decision, and have objected on religious and cultural grounds.

    In a press conference on Tuesday, coach Des Hasler apologised to both the LGBTQ+ community and the players, stating they should have been consulted on plans to wear the strip.

    "They were not included in any of the discussions, and at a minimum, they should have been consulted," the two-time NRL premiership-winning boss said.

    Though the club has not named the seven who will sit out the clash, reports in local media have identified them as Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau'atu, Tolu Koula and Toafofoa Sipley.

    The match is a crucial one for both Manly and Sydney, with the winner taking the advantage in the race to reach the NRL playoffs in September.

    While Hasler added that he respected the decision of the players, backlash to it has been widespread.

    Former Manly star Ian Roberts, the first rugby league footballer to come out as gay, said the decision "saddens" him.

    Ex-Wakefield Trinity prop Keegan Hirst, who became the first professional British rugby league player to come out as gay, in 2015, questioned the players' beliefs given Manly are sponsored by a betting firm.

    ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys meanwhile stated the competition could introduce a pride round as soon as the 2023 season, in response to the furore, pointing to the game's history of immigrant inclusivity as a springboard.

    "It was inclusive back then and it is inclusive now," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's important that every boy and girl and man and woman can go to the game and feel they can be treated the same as everyone else."

    This is not the first time the NRL has sought to make a stand opposing LGBTQ+ discrimination, with the league previously blacklisting ex-Wallabies star Israel Folau following his attempts to return to rugby league after he was dismissed from rugby union.

    The centre ultimately landed at Catalans Dragons in Super League, before returning to Australia and then Japan, where he currently plays with the Shining Arcs.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.