Jackson Hastings will return to the NRL at the end of the Super League season with Wigan's blessing and the Manchester club's coach Adrian Lam has tipped the influential half-back to excel even further now his future has been resolved.
Hastings came over to the UK in July 2018 following an acrimonious end to his time with Manly Sea Eagles and won the following year's Man of Steel with Salford before switching to Wigan at the start of last season.
The Britain international has long coveted a return to Australia, the country of his birth, and speculation about his future has now ended after it was announced he had signed a two-year deal with Wests Tigers.
While Lam acknowledged his professional disappointment at the news, the Wigan head coach insisted he was delighted for Hastings, a player he brought to the club.
"He's been outstanding. He's given his absolute all for this club," Lam said.
"Jackson's always wanted to go back to the NRL and play there. He's been quite passionate about that and we've been supportive of that.
"I'm glad it's out of the way because we can all move forward with it and prepare for what lays ahead for us.
"We're very proud of him for what he's going to give us for the rest of this year and we're very proud of him and support him on his decision moving forward."
Lam expects Hastings to bring his best for the remaining weeks of the Super League season.
"He's the ultimate competitor," Lam said.
"I have no doubt that we'll probably see his best rugby now over the next month or two."
Hastings will leave a sizeable hole when he departs. He helped Wigan to their first League Leaders' Shield in eight years in 2020, when they suffered an agonising last-gasp loss to local rivals St Helens in the Grand Final.
"We will always survive and sort it out either way and that's the next chapter of my time here or the club's future moving forward," Lam said.
Hastings, 25, said he was grateful to Wigan, Lam and the club's fans for his time at the club, and that he was committed to performing for the rest of the 2021 season.
"Over the last 15 months I've really appreciated being part of such a historic place and the expectations that come along with that," he said.
"I have given everything I have to the jersey and I will continue to do that for the rest of this year."
Australian Associated Press