The club has been ordered to shave $330,000 off its player payment pool this year and next.
Hastings' potential exit after being discarded to feeder club Blacktown Workers following a bust-up with captain Daly Cherry-Evans could free up some salary cap space, but the 22-year-old is under no obligation to leave before the end of the season.
The Rugby League Players Association is comfortable the former Australian Schoolboy will be given a chance to earn a spot back in the top grade side on his merit, despite coach Trent Barrett confirming Hastings could spend the rest of the year with Blacktown.
And finding a new NRL employer or English Super League club could prove problematic.
Already carrying the salaries of Nate Myles and Darcy Lussick as part of their official roster despite both no longer being at the club and juggling season-ending injuries to Curtis Sironen and Kelepi Tanginoa, Manly will be desperate for the opportunity to repeal the salary cap penalties later this year.
But it may prove a difficult task.
The NRL appeals committee procedural rules state: “If the NRL appeals committee is of the opinion that the issue or issues raised by an appeal might be decided in favour of the appellant but consider that no substantial miscarriage of justice has occurred, the NRL appeals committee shall dismiss the appeal and may direct the appellant to pay the respondents reasonable costs of and incidental to the appeal.”
Manly still need to fill two spots in their 30-man squad to be lodged with the NRL before June 30.
Hastings will wander onto familiar territory in front of familiar faces for Blacktown when they travel up the highway to take on the Wyong Roos, the feeder side for his old club the Roosters and place where he spent many hours previously.
Hastings was sent back to Wyong after differences with ex-senior teammates at the Roosters and will now clash with some old colleagues at Berkeley Vale Oval on the Central Coast on Saturday.
He'll come back to prove a point and that's the type of kid he is
"He'll come back to prove a point and that's the type of kid he is," Wyong coach Rip Taylor said. "I feel for him a little bit and he's a little bit different. He was respectful to the staff and everything like that, but I did have a couple of personal conversations with him [when he was at Wyong]."
The NRL Integrity Unit is monitoring Manly's handling of the Cherry-Evans and Hastings matter before deciding whether to take any further action.
Cherry-Evans is facing sanctioning over his role in the Hastings feud at a Gladstone hotel after Manly's loss to the Titans earlier this month.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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