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“It’s unheard of” – NRL legend weighs in on Jackson Hastings situation

Jackson Hastings (31) of Wigan Warriors apples to referee Marcus Griffiths

An NRL legend has weighed in on former Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils halfback Jackson Hastings being dropped after his NRL side lost their opening two games.

The 28-year-old enjoyed an excellent spell in Super League, winning Man of Steel in 2019 as a Salford player, whilst also playing in back-to-back Grand Finals, for Salford and Wigan Warriors, losing both to St Helens.

With the Newcastle Knights currently winless this season, reports emerged that he had been dropped, however, he is not the only playmaker to lose their place with three other halfbacks also being dropped early in the NRL season.

Jackson Hastings, formerly of Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils, looks to the side and smiles, in a navy Great Britain RL polo shirt.

Credit: Imago Images

The Daily Telegraph report that Penrith Panthers legend Greg Alexander had plenty to say on the matter, Alexander explaining: “It’s a bit strange to have even one number seven dropped after one or two rounds but to have four is unheard of.

“These coaches who pulled the trigger on their halves would have had it in their mind in the off-season.

“They weren’t convinced they were going to be the sevens long-term, but they were probably hoping they would be.

“Early season form has immediately seen them chopped.”

Jack Cogger is the man being preferred to Jackson Hastings, if reports are true, whilst Hastings will instead drop down to play in the New South Wales Cup and partner Will Pryce in the halves.

Cogger played in the World Club Challenge and NRL Grand Final in 2023 for the Panthers.

Alexander added: “I wouldn’t say Jackson has let himself down. I thought he played okay against the Cowboys.

“Maybe a bit better than okay! Jackson probably pays the price for having someone ready to jump into that spot in Cogger.”

Our verdict on Jackson Hastings snub

Jackson Hastings holds the Man of Steel trophy, wearing all-black attire.

Credit: Imago Images

With the Knights having plenty of talent in the halves, and speculation linking Hastings to a Super League return, this is a story that may well continue well into the future.

It seems harsh to drop him after just two games, but Newcastle have high 2024 expectations after an excellent end to last season.

With Wigan and Salford, Hastings showed that he’s more than suited to Super League rugby, and if a team can make the right offer, anything could happen.

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