Leeds Rhinos full-back Zak Hardaker out of Friday's World Club Challenge
Last Updated: 19/02/13 9:12am
Zak Hardaker: Picked up an injury during the Super League victory over Salford
Leeds full-back Zak Hardaker has been ruled out of Friday's World Club Challenge because of a broken thumb and will be out of action for a month.
The former Featherstone Rovers back suffered the injury during the Rhinos' 42-14 victory over struggling Salford on Friday.
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Centre Kallum Watkins, who switched to full-back against the City Reds, and Australian recruit Joe Vickery are among the list of possible alternatives for the full-back role.
Vickery, 23, who was born in Exeter but raised in Australia, earned a 12-month contract with the champions after impressing in pre-season trials but damaged ankle ligaments on his debut in the opening game.
Leeds coach Brian McDermott said: "We have a few options at full-back. We will have a look at some stuff, but Kallum Watkins is a likely option at this stage."
Vickery, who was initially ruled out for six weeks, will be something of an unknown quantity for Melbourne, whose coach Craig Bellamy has been busy doing his homework on the utility back.
"I think he played lower-grade with St George in the NRL," Bellamy told the press conference.
"I wasn't well versed with him back home but we've seen him in a couple of games over here."