Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has piled the praise on rising star Zak Hardaker

Last Updated: 25/09/12 1:16pm

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Zak Hardaker: Brian McDermott believes Leeds Rhinos' rising star has been outstanding

Zak Hardaker: Brian McDermott believes Leeds Rhinos' rising star has been outstanding

Sky Bet

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has praised youngster Zak Hardaker in the wake of his Young Player of the Year nomination.

The former Featherstone Rovers man has been shortlisted along with Bradford Bulls' John Bateman and Josh Jones of St Helens for the prestigious honour.

Hardaker joined the club as a winger and played for much of the campaign at centre before switching to full-back, where he has played in the last 15 games.

McDermott was especially pleased with the 20-year-old in this year's Challenge Cup final and believes he raises his game for the big occasion.

"He deserves his nomination," he said in the Yorkshire Evening Post. "He has been outstanding. He has been good in the big games, which is a good indicator for anybody who has got a long future in our game.

"He is clearly a very good player, we can see that. He plays against the lesser teams and does some remarkable things with the ball.

"He is very good defensively, but the most pleasing thing for me is he has stepped up in the big games and had a real crack.

"In the Challenge Cup final, for a team that had very little momentum during the game, he worked his socks off.

"He is one of those players who, if the chips are down, gets the ball and tries to do something, with raw effort or skill."

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