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Hastings leaves door open for NRL return with one-year deal

Jackson Hastings has left the door open for a return to the NRL after turning down longer term offers from up to three Super League clubs to extend his stay with Salford for next season.

Hastings, who has been put forward for England selection by Salford coach Ian Watson after helping the club to seven wins in as many appearances and first place in The Qualifiers, preferred a one-year deal and the Red Devils were happy to accommodate him.

It is understood that other clubs, including Wigan, wanted to sign Hastings on a longer deal but he harbours ambitions to play again in the NRL and believes a continuation of his good form next season could result in the opportunity to return home in 2020.

"He was chased for four clubs but at the moment he has decided to stay one more year before coming back to the NRL so he thought he would stay at the club where everything is going good for him," Hastings manager Sam Ayoub said.

Hastings joined Salford in July following a falling out with Manly coach Trent Barrett and has quickly become a fan favourite at the Manchester-based club after playing a key role in their Super League survival for next season.

After finishing 11th at the end of the Super League home-and-away season and boasting the worst attack in the 12-team competition, Salford won five of their seven matches in The Qualifiers and both losses were in matches Hastings missed due to suspension.

Jackson Hastings in action for Manly in 2018.
Jackson Hastings in action for Manly in 2018. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

He returned to score 18 points as the Red Devils defeated Toulouse 44-10 to secure automatic qualification for next year's Super League.

"He is settled and happy at Salford, and the idea of getting him across there was to get him away from the stigma and the negative perceptions that has been created here," Ayoub said.

"It has done him the world of good, he is enjoying his footy and he has proven what an outstanding player he is. His impact for Salford has been enormous."

Watson suggested after the win against Toulouse that England coach Wayne Bennett should consider Hastings for the upcoming Test against France and end-of-season series against New Zealand as he qualifies to represent England through his grandmother.

However, Hastings harbours ambitions to play at representative level in Australia and he was not selected for Bennett's 24-man squad or the England Knights team to play Papua New Guinea in Lae on October 27 and Port Moresby on November 3.

"He is eligible, but if he was to put his hand up for England that would rule him out of whatever else he may be able to achieve if he was to come back," Ayoub said. "I think he has got the ability to go further if goes to the right club."

The Red Devils have also announced the retention of former Manly utility Joey Lussick on a two-year contract.