Wigan Warriors coach Adrian Lam is refusing to panic at reports linking Jackson Hastings with the NRL and he says the halfback is contracted to the Warriors and will be playing in Super League this year.
Hastings gave an interview with Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph last week setting out his strong desire to go back to the NRL.
The 2019 Man of Steel winner, who is off-contract at the end of 2021, has yet to return to England to start pre-season with Wigan.
But Lam is not worried by the story, and says Hastings and star fullback Bevan French will fly back to the UK this week.
“I haven’t read it, to be honest with you,” he said.
“Jackson’s got a habit of throwing it out there every time around this time of the year. We just get on with it because he’s contracted here. We’re looking forward to him coming back here and playing a role for us and being successful for 2021. Whatever happens after this year I’m sure it will sort itself out. But we’re all in a really good place at the moment, so it’s onwards and upwards.
“Jackson and Bevan will be here in the next week. They were supposed to come back when we locked down totally, but it was just not the place to be here. So I’ve allowed them to stay there and just train through the better weather they’ve had there. We’ve given them a good programme and both of them are working hard.
“Jackson’s naturally fit anyway. We’ll do some testing on them when they get back, just to make sure everything’s on track, and if not we’ll just adjust to suit. We’ve been doing that a fair bit with Covid only the last 12 months, so we’re good to go.”
Lam admits Hastings and French may not start round one of Super League, depending on their fitness, condition and other injuries, when they rejoin Wigan.
“We’ll see how they fare when they get back,” the coach said.
“Obviously it’s a long, long season for us; it’s important that we get that right. You get the niggly injuries that will come through the trials as well. We’ve got one trial next weekend, on the 14th of March against Salford at Salford, we’ll get through that and see how we fare.”
Last month George Burgess was released by Wigan because of medical reasons and the future of prop Mitch Clark at the club has been up for debate.
Lam says the Warriors will be keeping an open mind on recruitment, and that Clark still has a role to play with the cherry and white.
“We’re always open to suggestions and keeping our eyes on what’s available,” the 50-year-old said.
“Later in the season the club will have to make a decision on how we address that situation, but we’re always looking, always making sure we’re a step ahead of everyone else. No doubt during the season if something pops up we may be interested. We’ll wait and see how that unfolds.
“I think Mitch has got a big part to play for our club. We brought him here for a reason. If he is to go out on loan it’s because he’s not in the matchday squad and we need everyone outside that seventeen to be playing to keep their form and fitness.
“He’s been doing great for us, he’s pulling his weight and he’ll keep working hard.”
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