Zak Hardaker has taken aim at former Penrith teammate Jamie Soward over his claims the English Super League competition was “10 years behind the NRL”.
Soward last month brought down the curtain on his 14-year professional career following a short stint with English second tier club London.
Following his departure, Soward said the English competition still had a lot of work to do to catch up to the NRL, Hardaker taking aim at the criticism.
“If it came from someone like Cooper Cronk then you could understand, but when Jamie Soward came over I thought he was rubbish,” Hardaker told Love Rugby League.
“You can’t really listen to a guy who came over, played for London, was probably one of their worst players. No one wanted him at the Panthers, then he goes to play Championship.
“You can’t really listen to someone who’s been rubbish in Super League.”
Soward ended his career in England after being dumped from Penrith’s top grade side before gaining a release from his Panthers contract midway through the 2016 season.
Following his retirment, he told Triple M: “The Super League – and we saw it in the Four Nations – is ten years behind the NRL, and the competition lower than the Super League is about 20 years behind.
“The Super League players just aren’t good enough, to be honest. I don’t know if they train hard enough.”
Soward was briefly part of the Panthers squad with former Super League Man of Steel Hardaker, who arrived at the foot of the mountains on a loan deal with Leeds Rhinos in June.
Hardaker failed to make an impact as a member of the Panthers side which made it through to the second week of the NRL finals.
From his 10 appearances, just one was in the starting side, he scored just one try and came up with two try assists, two line-break assists and one line-break.
He departed the Panthers following the 2016 campaign to sign a one-year deal with English club Castleford.