Wigan boss Ian Lenagan has no issue with Jackson Hastings’ planned NRL return

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan has no problems with star half-back Jackson Hastings planning for a return to Australia – and says he would do the same.

Hastings has constantly been linked with a move back to the NRL almost since arriving at Salford in 2018, where he won the Steve Prescott Man of Steel the following season.

The latest speculation about he future centred on a interview the 25-year-old did in Sydney last week, before landing back in England this week. Hastings is contracted to Wigan for the 2021 season and Lenagan says plans are being made by both parties for beyond that.

Asked about the interview, Lenagan said: “I don’t have a problem with it – he’s always told us he wants to go back to the NRL.

Hastings’ future has regularly been the subject of speculation

“Do we expect him to go back to the NRL at the end of 2021? Probably. Do we have plans if he does? Yes. Would we keep him if he wanted to stay? Yes, at the right price, obviously.

“Every player has only got a 10 or 12 year life – you’ve got to make your plans. He has got to be making plans, and he wants to be playing in the NRL, there’s no doubt about that. He’s like to play for almost any team in the NRL, but he obviously hasn’t got the offers, has he?

“Are we concerned? There are plenty of players around. Jackson’s a great player and I loved the contribution he made particularly in the last three months of the season.

“He was prepared to play hooker or wherever, and he’s a commendable rugby league player who has got a place at Wigan for as long as he wants to be here. Should he be making plans to go back home and play in the NRL? I would be if I were him.”

Brett Hodgson of Exiles in action
Now Hull FC coach Brett Hodgson in action for the Exiles against England

Lenagan says there is no rush to confirm the details of the proposed mid-season match between England and and Exiles team after Hull chairman Adam Pearson said he cannot support the fixture at present.

Pearson has concerns both about England’s NRL contingent not featuring and the fact the game is set to take place during a full round of Super League matches in June.

Lenagan said: “There have been a couple of emails in the last couple of days from chairman I have respect for, putting different views.

“There are a variety of views, and when we get to that point in the season we’ll make a decision of precisely how to do it. I’ve always been a grand supporter of the international team and I like the Exiles approach.

“That concept of having a competitive team to play is good, but the details as to whether it should include NRL players and all the rest of it, is a detail too many at the moment for me. I’m more focused on the start of the season – but as we get nearer to it I’ll be more concerned about it.”

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