George Williams to leave Wigan, Jackson Hastings signs
Last Updated: 09/07/19 12:54pm
Wigan have announced England stand-off George Williams is to become the latest Super League player to make the switch to the NRL.
The reigning champions say they have accepted an undisclosed fee for the 24-year-old Williams, who is expected to join his old Wigan team-mates John Bateman and Ryan Sutton at Canberra on a two-year contract from 2020.
Wigan will replace Williams with Salford's Australian half-back Jackson Hastings, who has agreed to join them as a marquee player from next year.
On a day on which the club made Adrian Lam their permanent head coach, the Warriors also announced the departure of centre Dan Sarginson, who is expected to join Salford.
As part of the release agreement, Wigan will have first refusal on Williams' services should he return to Super League once his time in the NRL has come to an end.
Wigan Warriors vs Wakefield Trinity
July 18, 2019, 7:00pm
Wigan executive director Kris Radlinksi said: "George has developed into one of the world's finest half-backs and, although we are naturally disappointed to lose a home-grown player of his calibre, we wish him the best in his move to the NRL.
"I have no doubt he'll take that competition by storm."
Williams, who has made 172 appearances for his home-town club, said: "Firstly I want to say a massive thanks to everyone at Wigan Warriors for everything they have done for me.
"I've been at Wigan since I was 12 years old and I have managed to live my dream playing 170-plus games and winning two Grand Finals for my home-town club, along the way making some incredible memories and friends for life.
"Another dream of mine was always to play and to test myself in the NRL so I want to thank (chairman) Ian Lenagan and Kris Radlinski for their understanding in allowing me to do this."
Wigan have succeeded in landing Hastings at the second attempt. The 23-year-old rejected their offer at the end of last season in favour of spending another year with Salford and was also on the wanted list by Leeds.
The former Sydney Roosters and Manly playmaker, who is second in the Steve Prescott Man of Steel rankings, has signed a two-year deal, which includes a get-out clause after 12 months which allows him to return to the NRL.
Radlinski said: "This a hugely significant signing. In Jackson Hastings, we have secured the services of one of the most sought-after talents in the game, having fought off interest from around Super League and in the NRL.
"Jackson has a burning desire to win things in England and that ultimately lead to him joining us and turning down bigger money elsewhere."
Hastings is Wigan's second recruit from Salford, following the signing of Jake Bibby, while Sarginson is set to make the reverse move.
Sarginson, 26, who began his Super League career with London Broncos, is in his second spell with the Warriors, having rejoined them from Gold Coast Titans in 2018.