It’s safe to say that former Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils star Jackson Hastings earned his big move back to the NRL ahead of the 2022 season.
After almost four in Super League with Salford then Wigan, Hastings was the poster boy of reformed characters, signing a deal with the Wests Tigers to return to the competition where he left under a cloud four years before.
However, wind the clock forward barely months later and Hastings is now having to defend himself against claims of his ‘conduct’ within the club.
The 26-year-old has been thrust further into the limelight with a reshuffle from interim coach Brett Kimmorley placing Hastings at 13, with Adam Doueihi and Luke Brooks taking the halfback spots.
As such, Hastings has been heavily linked with a move away from Concord as three clubs fight for his signature, but the Sydney Morning Herald has also reported that everything isn’t as rosy behind the scenes as is portrayed by Hastings.
The paper stated: “There are a number of people at the club who don’t believe he is a good influence on the team despite the image he portrays in the media for the fans. He has become a cult hero, but the view is different among most internally.”
Hastings, however, has come out fighting in retaliation.
“It’s not the first time I’ve heard it. I’m pretty used to hearing things like that,” he told the Wide World of Sports.
“It’s probably an easy fallback and something to write from a few years ago. I actually addressed it with a few people at the club. They were pretty clear that they didn’t say it. I’m not going to name names.”
The 26-year-old is keen to move on from the story and concentrate on rugby – and perhaps nailing down his future.
“I was more disappointed that if someone did have an issue with me they didn’t come and say it to me. But they made it pretty clear to me it didn’t come from anyone within the club,” Hastings continued.
“I was happy to move on from it. I’m used to reading those things about myself. It’s all part of being me, I guess.”