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Six clubs eye England league No.1 Hardaker

Press Association logoPress Association 6/09/2016 Ian Laybourn

Six Super League clubs have expressed an interest in signing England fullback Zak Hardaker after he completes his short-term NRL stint with Penrith.

The reigning Super League 'Man of Steel' is on loan deal with the Panthers after being granted his wish to play in the NRL but remains contracted to the Rhinos to the end of 2019.

However, Leeds say they have planned for 2017 without the 24-year-old Hardaker, who remains on the transfer list with a STG300,000 ($A526,000) price tag.

He has been playing regularly off the bench for the Panthers and is in their squad for Sunday's elimination final against Canterbury at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.

According to Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington, Penrith have first refusal on the player's services for 2017 but Press Association Sport understands two NRL clubs have expressed an interest, along with four from Super League, which is his expected destination.

The Super League quartet is thought to include Hull KR, where director Jamie Peacock is a former Leeds teammate.

Hardaker scored 67 tries in 155 games for Leeds since joining them in 2011 from Featherstone.

However, he has been dogged by off-field issues in his time at Headingley. He received a fine and club written warning after pulling out of England's 2013 World Cup squad and was dropped for a match at the start of last season following a police investigation into an incident at student accommodation in Leeds.

He played his final game for Leeds in a 32-6 win at Wakefield in June before moving to Penrith in exchange for hooker James Segeyaro.

The former champions have won all seven matches following the arrival of Segeyaro, the former NRL hooker of the year who has a two-year contract with the Rhinos which includes a get-out clause should he receive an offer from a NRL club.

Hetherington says he does not knows whether the player will still be at the Rhinos in 2017 and is not yet ready to make an announcement.

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