Drink-driving arrest a 'defining moment in my life' - Hardaker

By Peter Hanson 13 January 2019 203
Drink-driving arrest a 'defining moment in my life' - Hardaker

Zak Hardaker described his arrest for drink-driving as "a defining moment" in his life and has vowed to make headlines for the right reasons after a series of controversies throughout his career.

Last year, Hardaker was given a 20-month driving ban and fined £1,810 after he was over twice the legal limit for alcohol when behind the wheel.

That followed his sacking from Castleford Tigers in February 2018 for a positive test for cocaine the previous year, which resulted in a 14-month suspension.

Wigan Warriors offered the former Leeds Rhinos man a fresh chance following that misdemeanour and opted to stand by Hardaker following his latest controversy.

Hardaker, who was the 2015 Man of Steel, received treatment at the Sporting Chance Clinic and the 27-year-old said he realised he needed to make lifestyle changes.

"September 25th was a defining moment in my life and there were times during the suspension when I wondered if packing rugby in would make all my problems go away," he said in an interview with The Guardian. 

"But I'm back with a smile on my face, I've found a way to deal with my problems for the first time and I'm hungry to play. No more bad headlines, only good ones.

"I sincerely apologise for my actions and know it might take another five years for me to not do anything stupid, and people might think I've turned a corner. 

"Life now feels a lot clearer armed with what I learned at Sporting Chance. Previously, on days off, I'd be sat around wondering what to do and it would normally end in me losing my head or going to the pub. 

"But now I'm much better prepared to deal with it."

On his Sporting Chance experience, he added: "It's six hours away and it was about tackling your issues head-on rather than shrugging them off.

"I was lucky to be offered that chance and Wigan rang me every day, assuring me I had a future if I did the right things. 

"I know people will struggle to believe this but I’m sick of making the same mistakes. I've learned a lot about myself in Sporting Chance."

Hardaker believes that moving away from his home town of Pontefract has also helped.

"Being able to concentrate solely on rugby was why it was time to move," he said. 

"At home there were too many distractions to lead me astray. I'm now in a town where rugby league is everything and the expectations of the people are huge."

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