With the news that star halfback Jackson Hastings will be leaving Wigan at the end of 2021 to move back to the NRL with Wests Tigers, Adrian Lam could not his pride.
“I’m really pleased for Jackson and I’m glad that it’s out there and it’s sorted out now,” Lam admitted.
“We can all move forward from it; when I first heard about it, there was sadness there because I did bring him to the club and he’s been great for Super League.
“Jackson has always wanted to go back to the NRL and play there and we’ve been supportive of that; he’s given his absolute all for the club and I’m just proud of his conviction.”
The Wigan head coach spoke of how Hastings always had that dream to return to Australia and that he’s looking forward to seeing how he goes once he is back Down Under.
“His performances here in Super League with winning Man of Steel have been outstanding and I think he deserves that opportunity to go back and play in the NRL and that’s his dream – we’re very supportive of anyone that has a dream they want to chase.
“In quarantine, he had some issues with family and it will be great for him to get back to them, but he’s still 100 per cent committed to the club for this year.
“Let’s get on with it, I’m glad that it’s out of the way and now we can all move forward with it and prepare for this week.”
Lam was also keen to stress that the Australian halfback is a perfect role model for those wanting second chances in life.
“He’s a great example for those that haven’t made it elsewhere or want a second chance to move somewhere and start again.
“He’s certainly being amazing in his time in Super League with what he did for Salford and now Wigan – other players can take heart from how he’s gone about his business.
“He came to the UK for an opportunity to get back to Australia and he’s changed as a person in a good way from when he first came to the country.”
With one halfback exiting the club to another one committing his long-term future, Harry Smith has penned a four-year deal. And, Lam could not be happier.
“It’s great news for Harry Smith, signing a long-term deal here this week; the whole squad are over the moon by it and he’s loved by all the club.”
Lam was also quizzed about potential replacements for Hastings, but played his cards close to his chest.
“In regards to replacing Jackson, it’s a decision the club will make in the near future, we need to discuss about how we can move forward. This club is always bigger than one player and we will always survive.
“You just have to use due diligence; it’s clear a lot of players that come to the UK would love to come to Wigan.
“I’m sure Kris Radlinski would get a phone call every day for the next six months, but we’ve got to make sure it’s a right fit for us.”
Looking ahead to Wigan’s clash with Castleford on Thursday night, Lam gave an update on his injured stars.
“Dom Manfredi took a whack on his hand yesterday, so he’s gone to get that checked tonight.
“Tommy Leuluai has a sore sternum, but Bevan (French) will play this week. Gildart had that setback so its a week-by-week thing for him.”