Hastings to Remain at Blacktown for Remainder of 2018
Manly coach Trent Barrett has confirmed utility Jackson Hastings is unlikely to be considered for first grade again this season.
Barrett told media on Wednesday morning the Sea Eagles had sent Hastings back to their Intrust Super Premiership feeder club Blacktown Workers following two recents incidents between the player and captain Daly Cherry-Evans.
"It's unfortunate that it's got to this, but I will say the club has certainly done everything possible over the past 12 months to try and avoid it," Barrett said.
"But we made a decision to put Jackson back to Blacktown. We'll continue to look after his welfare but we've also got a squad to look after.
"This certainly isn't a one-off incident. We have documented a lot of things over the past 12 months. The last formal one was the second of February when we had Jackson in here with the RLPA and his manager, and our welfare officer, to try and work out a plan - to work through some issues to avoid a situation that we've just gone through.
"Unfortunately it was an issue that I saw coming and we tried to address it a long time ago and now it's implicated another player. So it's something we certainly would have rather avoided but we have to make some decisions in the best interest of the team and I've done that, and we just need to try and move forward while still providing Jackson with support."
Barrett said a clash between Hastings and Cherry-Evans was the last straw.
"If it wasn't Cherry, it probably was going to be someone else. It just happened to be our highest-profile player," he said.
"I think Cherry's gone back to clear the air back at the hotel after the game, and as far as we're aware there was an another heated argument."
The coach admitted it was a tough time to lose another player considering Manly's salary cap constraints following cap breaches, and season-ending injuries to forwards Curtis Sironen and Kelepi Tanginoa.
"It's difficult. We are in a difficult position," Barrett said.
"We are short on players. The salary cap situation hasn't helped - it's going to take a fair while to get out of it and there's going to have to be some pretty firm decisions made by the organisation over not just the next few months but next 12 months, it's going to take a while."
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg was happy for the Sea Eagles to handle the matter.
"I'm not sure if I'd say I'm keeping an eye on it. For me, that's a matter between the player and his club. And it's not dissimilar to what might happen at a number of clubs across a season," he said.
"Our welfare guys will talk to the players' association and if there's a role for them to play they'll certainly play it."