Jackson Hastings left the NRL in ugly circumstances in 2018. Now he is back and two greats are tipping him to shine.
League legend Andrew Johns has described Jackson Hastings as a “really good” individual, backing him to be a positive addition to the Wests Tigers squad.
After a three-year exile away from the NRL in the UK Super League, Hastings signed a two-year deal to return to Australia for the Wests Tigers.
Hastings left the NRL under controversial circumstances back in 2018, released from his contract with Manly after a falling out with skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and coach Trent Barrett.
Despite his acrimonious NRL exit, Johns recalled his positive experiences while working alongside Hastings when he was a teenager with the Roosters between 2014 and 2016.
“I found him to be a really good young guy,” he told Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and the Eighth.
“I remember when I’d go to training, I’d sometimes take my little fella and he’d kick the footy around with him.
“He was very young coming in when he was at the Roosters and he was playing with some real strong and dominant players.
“He’s gone away and obviously matured. You’re a different person when you’re in your mid-20s to when you’re in your late teens, so I think he’ll go well.”
Fellow league great Brad Fittler also praised the Hastings signing, suggesting the halfback would give the Wests Tigers more of an on-field identity than they’ve had with Luke Brooks on the controls.
“What he will do is he’ll voice up. He’ll own where they are and where they’ve got to go on the field and he does that easy,” Fittler told Freddy and the Eighth.
“You can tell he’s a real student of the game. He knows when to kick, all that sort of stuff, which Brooks falls in and out of a lot.
“It might give them a bit more consistency in what they’re doing during a game. Sometimes at the end of the game, you’ll watch the Tigers and go, ‘What happened? What have they done?’, it’s very hard to know.
“When he plays, you become more aware of what they’re trying to do.”