Hastings a chance as Suli debut hits roadblock
MANLY must decide if it will upgrade the contract of Moses Suli before he is allowed to run out in the centres against the Sydney Roosters.
On Tuesday, Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett moved Dylan Walker to the halves for the clash, but that was largely dependent on Suli being granted approval to play by the NRL.
Given his status as a development player, Manly was permitted to name Suli.
But as the club has other five-eighths and halves in its full-time squad, the 19-year-old will not be able to play unless he is upgraded to fill a spot in their top roster.
Barrett spoke last week about his desire not to be rushed into filling the final two positions in his 30-man squad, but that was before Lachlan Croker headlined the latest round of serious injuries at Brookvale.
The development is the latest in a headline few months for Suli, who was released from big-dollar deals at both the Wests Tigers and Canterbury in the pre-season.
He has since broken through 22 tackles and scored two tries in four NSW Cup games for Manly feeder club Blacktown Workers.
If Suli isn't upgraded, Manly has two other options.
It can either blood young star Tom Wright for his NRL debut at five-eighth or centre, or recall the exiled Jackson Hastings back into the team at No.6.
Hastings hasn't played for Manly since the club's disastrous trip to Gladstone last month, spending the past three games playing for Blacktown as the club's woes continue.
He was named in the No.19 jersey, but would appear unlikely to play given he did not train with the team on Tuesday before Wednesday's day off.
Hastings' plight continues to be the talking point of the league. Teammate and NRL state of mind ambassador Joel Thompson backed Barrett's selections but said Hastings' welfare had to be kept in mind.
"No one wants to see players that come under pressure from media and different stuff like that," Thompson said.
"Myself and other players made sure we got in touch with him and made sure he was OK.
"I'm not best mates with Hasto but made sure he's OK, made sure he had our support there if he needed it.
"He will come out of it. He'll be fine and he'll learn a lot from it."