WHAT HAS happened with Zak Hardaker over the last couple of weeks is really disappointing.
It’s a tough one because In the heat of battle things are said which are regretted later.
Sledging and a bit of name-calling does go on and there’s no point anybody pretending it doesn’t. Sometimes you do come off the field disappointed at saying something you don’t really mean.
Occasionally it’s a comment aimed at a team-mate, but more often it’s a bit of “banter” with the opposition. I imagine that sort of thing has gone on since rugby league began and it is definitely not unique to our sport. But times change and I think as players we now have to remember we are under the spotlight more than ever before.
Every game is filmed and when matches are televised, particularly on Sky, there are so many camera angles nothing goes unnoticed. Obviously the words Zak used crossed a boundary and he is having to face the consequences. There are certain things you can’t and shouldn’t say and the expression Zak used is unacceptable. I know he regrets what has happened and he is sorry for any offense caused.
From what I can tell he had a fair hearing and I know he has accepted the five-game ban which was handed out.
It is disappointing for us and for Zak because he has been in sparkling form this year – probably the best player in the competition in my opinion – and we will miss him, but it is one of those things and we have to get on with it.
The whole thing hasn’t done the game’s or Zak’s image any good. But as far as I am concerned Zak is a good lad, he is popular in our group and he’s not the offensive character some people are trying to portray him as.
He is still quite young and inexperienced in terms of the number of first-team games he has played.
He has made a mistake, but everybody does from time to time. You have to deal with it, learn from it and move on.
The disciplinary had a busy night on Tuesday, with Jamie Peacock – among others – up before the break as well.
That was a strange case as far as I am concerned. JP admitted punching in the win over Leigh last week, but decided not to take an early guilty plea, which would have got him a one-game ban.
He risked having that doubled by contesting the punishment, but I think the panel came up with the right decision and he got away with a fine, but no ban.
Looking at social media, that seems to have caused quite a bit of uproar among fans of other clubs, but the disciplinary obviously took JP’s clean record into consideration and the fact he was provoked.
One thing that really surprised me was the fact Leigh’s Matt Sarsfield, who started the bother and was sin-binned along with JP – did not get charged.
I honestly don’t see the logic of charging somebody who retaliates, but not the player who kicks the whole thing off.
Everybody tries to keep their cool during a game and discipline is vital for any team, but sometimes if you are getting roughed up you can’t just shrug your shoulders and take it.