sport

Hardaker handed number one shirt

Zak Hardaker has been rewarded for an outstanding season with the Leeds Rhinos in 2012 by being handed the coveted number one squad number.

Hardaker follows in the footsteps of greats such as Richard Mathers, Gary Connolly, Francis Cummins and Iestyn Harris to wear the number one shirt.

He wore the number four shirt during the club's successful season last year while Brent Webb - who received the number one jersey in 2007 - but has given up that number to Joel Moon, who joined the club on a three-year deal during the off-season.

Only two more changes to squad numbers for the new season has been made, with Stevie Ward elevated to 14 from 25 after an impressive debut season and new signing Mitch Achurch takes the 19 shirt vacated by Weller Hauraki.

German international Jimmy Keinhorst is promoted to 22, but the club has left the 25 jersey open and will allocate it to one of the younger players that train with the squad during the winter.

"Zak thoroughly deserves his promotion having been outstanding for us at full back last season. He continued that great form with England and I am sure he can kick on again next season," head coach Brian McDermott said.

"Likewise Stevie Ward impressed everyone at the club last season and has progressed immensely in his first full time season. Jimmy Keinhorst will be even stronger with the experience he gained last season in Super League and there is strong competition within the group as a whole," added McDermott.

1 Zak Hardaker, 2 Ben Jones-Bishop, 3 Kallum Watkins, 4 Joel Moon, 5 Ryan Hall, 6 Danny McGuire, 7 Rob Burrow, 8 Kylie Leuluai, 9 Paul McShane, 10 Jamie Peacock, 11 Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 12 Carl Ablett, 13 Kevin Sinfield, 14 Stevie Ward, 15 Brett Delaney, 16 Ryan Bailey, 17 Ian Kirke, 18 Chris Clarkson, 19 Mitch Achurch, 20 Darrell Griffin, 21 Richard Moore, 22 Jimmy Keinhorst, 23 Brad Singleton, 24 Liam Hood, 25