LEEDS RHINOS’ hopes of edging closer to Super League safety are boosted by Salford Red Devils’ star Australian half-back Jackson Hastings being banned for Friday’s Qualifiers meeting between the sides.
Hastings, regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the NRL, was surprisingly released by Manly Sea Eagles earlier this season and subsequently moved to the UK with Salford.
He has proved a revelation, helping them win all five games in which he has featured so far.
Hastings’s stellar performances have seen the 22-year-old linked with Wigan Warriors for 2019 and he was set to be a thorn in the side of Leeds, who still have work to do to avoid relegation.
However, the ex-Sydney Rooster will be missing after receiving a two-match penalty notice following his dismissal for a high tackle in the Qualifiers win over Toronto Wolfpack.
Hastings has until 11am today to fight the charge and face a disciplinary hearing.
Salford’s former Leeds prop Luke Burgess is also set to sit out due to a one-match penalty notice for his sending-off and high tackle in the same match.
Wigan forward Macauley Davies, 22, has been forced to retire immediately on medical grounds.
Scans revealed he has Chiari Malformation, a condition where the lower part of the brain pushes into the spinal canal.
The pre-existing condition was discovered when he was sent to a specialist as part of the return-to-play head injury protocols after being concussed with Swinton.
Warrington Wolves’ head of performance Jon Clarke will leave at the end of the season to take up a strength and conditioning role with the England rugby union side.