Wigan Warriors-bound Jackson Hastings rubbishes rumours about his future
Wigan-bound Jackson Hastings says he is ready to move on after helping turn around Salford’s fortunes.
The newly-crowned Man of Steel re-discovered the best form of his career during his 18-month stint with the Red Devils but insists there is no turning back after agreeing a move to Wigan for 2020.
Salford coach Ian Watson claimed in the build-up to Saturday’s 23-6 defeat by St Helens in the Super League title decider that the former Manly Sea Eagles half-back would have stayed with the club had he known they were a Grand Final team.
“Hindsight is a funny thing,” Hastings said. “If you’re playing for a team that’s going to compete for trophies every year, it’s obviously easier to say that.
“On the other hand, you’ve got to remember we were in the bottom eight last year fighting for survival and in the middle half of the year we thought we had no chance of making the play-offs.
“It’s a hard thing to say but all I can say is I really love the club and the decision I made was a hard one and I’m going to miss this place.
“They picked me off the ground and I helped pick them off the ground. We did it together and we got to play in the pinnacle of our game against probably the best team of the modern era.”
Hastings is part of a exodus of players from the AJ Bell Stadium but he believes the club is in a position to build on their success of 2019.
“Hopefully getting to the Grand Final can get some more bums on seats at the AJ Bell and they can push on,” he said.
“We’ve set a precedent this year and the club has signed some really good players for next year so it’s only going to go up.”
Hastings, 23, who has signed a two-year contract to become a Wigan marquee player, has an NRL get-out clause halfway through but suggests his future may lie in England.
“I haven’t thought about Australia,” he said. “I sort of got over that. England has given me everything I’ve needed to be a successful athlete.
“I’m very proud to play in the Super League. We’ve got some of the best players in the world playing in this competition.
“All I can do now is continue on the path that I’m on and that’s an upward trajectory.”
Meanwhile, Hastings is playing a waiting game to discover if he will be named in the Great Britain squad for the tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The 24-man squad will be announced today and team manager Jamie Peacock was set to ring the selected players yesterday.
“If I’m in a state to answer it, that would be good,” Hastings said. “In all seriousness, that’s out of my control now. They know where I stand and, if I’m in their plans going forward, they’ll pick me.
“If not, I’ll go home and put the feet up and get some well-earned rest. The ball is in their court.
“I love playing. Not many people get to play this game at the highest level. I’ve let that slip once before and, if I was lucky enough to get the call to play international rugby league, I wouldn’t turn it down for anything.
“I just hope I’m fit enough to take that phone call.”