Now that he’s had a taste of the NRL, Penrith’s on-loan Englishman Zak Hardaker is determined to make a full-time transition.

As the 24-year-old from Pontefract in Yorkshire soaks up the hype surrounding finals time, he admits this is where he wants to be as a professional footballer — testing himself against the best.

Unfortunately for Hardaker — last year’s Super League Man of Steel — a small matter of a long-term contract with Leeds, which expires in 2019, and a $520,000 transfer fee stand in the way.

“300 grand (sterling) — it is a hefty fee,” he said. “Before I came out, I was talking to five or six NRL clubs that wanted me. They had discussions with Leeds about the fee but the club did not budge. Obviously over here that fee comes out of the salary cap. Back home it is separate.

“It’s the only thing that stops me from coming here (permanently) at the moment.”

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