Trent Barrett has spoken frankly at a press conference this morning, saying that his decision to drop Jackson Hastings from the team was in the best interest of the squad.
The Manly coach acknowledged that a number of his players had expressed concern at continuing to play with the 22-year-old, but insisted that the decision was his alone.
"This was a decision that was made by myself and senior officials here at the club so I'd certainly like to distance the playing group from it," Barrett said at a press conference on Wednesday morning.
"There has been concerns, ongoing. It certainly isn't... a one-off incident. We have pretty well documented a lot of things over the past 12 months.
"The last probably formal one was on the second of February where we actually 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.
"It's something we'd rather avoided but we've got to make some decisions in the best interests of the team and I've done that."
Barrett also confirmed that Hastings had been involved in two separate incidents with Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans this month.
"It's unfortunate that it's got to this," he said. "But I will say the club has certainly done everything possible over the past 12 months to try and avoid it.
"But we made a decision to put Jackson back to Blacktown."
Hastings signed with Manly at the end of 2016 and will be off-contract this season, although Barrett said Wednesday that he hoped it wasn't the end of his career.
"He's a talented player," he said. "We know that. He's young. There's still the time for Jackson to turn things around.
"It's something we have talked about during his time here. He's still here and we'll continue to do it but he's going to need some support over the next few days."
Triple M's MG said yesterday that the situation was "unprecedented"; listen to the full audio below.
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