Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith provides contrasting contract updates on Zak Hardaker and Tom Briscoe

Leeds Rhinos coach Rohan Smith says preliminary talks have begun over Zak Hardaker’s future at the club.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 5th August 2022, 2:00 pm
Updated Friday, 5th August 2022, 6:40 pm

Smith also confirmed long-serving centre/winger Tom Briscoe has not been offered a deal beyond this season, though that could change.

Hardaker, a member of Rhinos’ treble-winning side in 2015, rejoined Leeds in April on a deal until the end of this season.

He has been a key figure in Rhinos’ revival under Smith and the coach revealed: “I have had preliminary chats with his agent and we’ll keep the ball rolling there.

Zak Hardaker made his second debut when Leeds lost at Salford in May, which was also Rohan Smith's first game as coach. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.

"There’s no strict timescale, it will sort itself as things go.”

Briscoe has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury in April.

He is also out of contract this autumn and Smith said: “I am not sure whether Tom has made any decision or not.

"He hasn’t been offered a new deal at this stage.”

Tom Briscoe. Picture by Tony Johnson.

But Smith stressed: “It is always a moving thing, there’s a lot of balls in the air and a lot of movement behind the scenes across the league, so there’s a knock on effect at times.”

Smith is hopeful Briscoe, who joined Leeds in 2014 and has scored 93 tries in 202 games, will play again this year.

"That will be the plan,” he said.

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Rhinos coach Rohan Smith. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.

"He’s still a couple of weeks away, he’s not back in team training as yet.”

Rhinos are at home to Salford Red Devils on Sunday in a game which could be pivotal for their Betfred Super League top six hopes.

Salford hammered St Helens 44-12 last Sunday, the day after Leeds hit back from 30-6 down to win 36-32 at Catalans Dragons.

Smith said: “I’ve studied them a lot, they try to challenge the opposition by moving the ball.

"They know who they are as a team and go about it in a confident and aggressive manner.

"They are a good defensive team, partly because their attack is so good it takes energy out of the opposition.”

But he stressed: “We have got some belief in what we’re doing, but we’ve got to start again.

"Last week doesn’t count for anything, we’ve got to come with the right intent, play together, ride the highs and lows of the day and hopefully we’ve got more good plays than them at the end of it.”