Jackson Hastings is committed to Wigan Warriors for 2021, insists Adrian Lam
Adrian Lam expects Jackson Hastings to play at Wigan this season amid reports Wests Tigers have targeted him for an immediate return to the NRL.
The halfback's future is the subject of fresh speculation with Michael Maguire's outfit linked with a fresh bid for him.
But Warriors coach Lam moved to draw a line under the saga and believes the 25-year-old is staying at the Warriors to lead their bid for Super League glory.
Asked about the Hastings reports, Lam told Wigantoday: "As far as the club is concerned he is committed to the club for 2021 and we want him here to drive us towards success.
"He's loving being back and we are glad to have him back."
Hastings, under contract until the end of this season, is not in the Wigan squad which opens the season against Leigh at Leeds' Headingley tomorrow night.
"He only had three training sessions with the squad before we picked the team," said Lam, who is also managed by Hastings' agent Sam Ayoub.
"I just feel he needs a little more time in the team sessions and environment before we consider him for selection."
Fellow Australian Bevan French is also missing after he was also given an extended off-season at home with his family, while Wigan head into the new campaign without their first-choice wingers, Liam Marshall and Dom Manfredi, as well as centre Oliver Gildart due to injury.
But those absentees have not dampened Lam's enthusiasm for the start.
"There's been a lot of focus on who's not playing but I'd rather focus on who is playing," he said. "We've got all of our forwards available, including John Bateman who's back at the club and Ethan Havard who is fit again, and I've got full confidence in the side we put out.
"Everyone is excited the new season is here."
Lam will begin his third season in charge when the Warriors take on Super League newcomers Leigh in front of the Sky Sports cameras tomorrow night.
And with speedster Jai Field joining a backs division which includes French, Gildart, Marshall and Manfredi - as well as halves such as Hastings and Thomas Leuluai - he is predicting plenty of excitement.
Lam said: “The mentality is I want us to be a threat, a real threat. We may not start bang on but we’ll get to that point pretty quickly.
“I’m an attack-minded coach, and I want us to attack from anywhere. I want us to have an attack mentality but with a defensive backbone that is part of our DNA."
Friday’s match is Wigan’s first competitive game since their agonising 8-4 Grand Final defeat to St Helens.
Lam, who has been running some evening sessions to get players readjusted to playing later in the day, added: “Obviously the way last season finished, those sort of scenarios hurt and they stay in your subconscious for a long time. It was a tough way to lose but there’s a fresh feel and everyone’s ready to go.”