Croker’s breakout season has been cruelly cut short following an ACL tear during Manly’s loss to Newcastle on Friday night.
Hastings was informed he wouldn’t be playing NRL again in 2018 after repeated disagreements with the first-grade squad, especially captain Daly Cherry-Evans.
But with Croker gone for the year, Hastings banishment to Blacktown seems over in a flash.
Alternatively, centre Dylan Walker can slot into the halves, but that experiment was deemed a failure when Manly used him there back in 2016.
Having now lost four games on the trot, Manly are desperate for something, anything that could re-spark the side.
But the youngster certainly proved he could match it with the best as a starter in 2015, lining up alongside James Maloney and controlling the Roosters side during the finals.
As salary cap drama surrounds the club, the Sea Eagles don’t have the cap space to buy a replacement, leaving Jackson Hastings the club’s next best option.
Whether it be at five-eighth or on the interchange bench, it appears Hastings NRL exile is over as quickly as it began.